Firstly, Happy New Year to you all! To our fellow hosts, hope you had a great break over Christmas but benefited from the tourists who like to get away over the festive season. For us we spent our holidays in Barcelona and had a busy Christmas and New year’s week with reservations, now we’ve been enjoying the low season and taking a little time to relax. 2014 has started off better than expected for us with enquiries and bookings.
We were invited down to an Airbnb meet up last night where the newest senior member of Airbnb, Chip Conley, Head of Hospitality was giving a talk on what they called ‘Masterclass in Hospitality’. When it started I did think it was feeling like it was geared a lot towards new Airbnb hosts or those thinking of starting out, but it actually gave us some great idea’s and also lit a small fire cracker under us to charge things up a little.
For those who have not heard of Chip, he is the founder of the boutique hotel company Joie de Vivre with 52 boutique hotels who sold a majority of his company about two years ago. This guy knows tons about hospitably, and what was great was that he was not coming at us with a ‘know it all’ approach, he really wanted us to learn from his experience and knowledge.
Okay, so what did we learn? Well loads infact, and too much for one post in our blog… One of the biggest things I took away from the talk was not to be complacent. There are now over 14000 listing in Barcelona. That blew me away! So ‘competition’ is rampant, but it was also great as we are continually getting bookings so we know we are doing something right. In fact listening to Chip, we are doing a lot right, but there is always room for improvement. We are going to spend some time over the next few days and go over our listings and see what we can improve on, as some were listed over a year ago and need to be freshened up.
He talked about an experience with one host who didn’t just point out the good about her listing, but also the bad!! She listed 5 things you’ll love about her apartment and 2 things that people don’t like. The 2 bad things she pointed out was that there was no lift and 4 flights of stairs and that below the apartment was a cafe which was popular for breakfasts and started to get noisy on the terrace at about 8am. This didn’t bother him and as he’s a 5am guy, so he booked with her, one of the main reasons he did was her honesty.
First impressions! We all know these count, but for a guest looking for a place to stay, their first impression is your listing. That’s the one chance you get to shine. So make sure it’s as good as it can be. We’ve written before about checking out other listings of top hosts in you area to see how they are presented, see if you can borrow some ideas.
He pointed out that only one of their senses is being used when they are looking at your listing…Sight. So, its so important to make sure your images are top notch, and the lay out of your listing is clear and your not going on and on about how great you place is and how amazing you are. We’ve mentioned before about lay out, and what works for us, a few short paragraphs about the apartment and the area, bullet points of what we offer our guests (To add bullet points, do it in Word or Pages, then cut and Paste into your listing) then a little about us at the bottom and other information.
Following on from that is …communication. It was mentioned last night about hosts who get back to their guests with in 12 hours are more likely to get the booking then those who don’t…12 hours!!! If we left an enquiry for more that an hour or two (when we’re awake) we feel we’ve let them down already! He did follow on to say the average good host has about a 4 hours response time.
Following on, once the guest checks in, all 5 of their senses are engaged when they come in. When Chip was running the hotels one of the things they always worked on was how their entrance lobbies stimulated the guest senses when a guest walked in. It’s an important question as your guest/s are judging your place as soon as they walk in, and if their senses are stimulated in the wrong way, well this is not good. This really made me think, a few times our cleaner has just finished when new guest arrive and there maybe a smell of cleaning products in the air. Okay, this is great so the guest knows the apartment has been cleaned, but its not the nicest smell to come into. So Fiona and I are going to think of something to change this.
All in all, it was a great evening and not only did I learn a lot about how we can improve, but it has also given us a boost and re-energised us for the new year to make sure we are giving our guest the best care we can.
Lastly, for us it was a breath of fresh air to hear Airbnb talk and embrace multi-listing hosts like our selves. We always felt that their focus was on host who host in their home, as we did for a year and a half. We still feel we offer a home from home for our guest and give them the Airbnb experience. So it was nice to hear that there is love for us.
We’ll be writing more about the things we learned last night, so stay tuned.
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