Face Time With Guests: A New Airbnb Host's Secret Weapon

Face Time With Guests: A New Airbnb Host's Secret Weapon
Minutes from Oakridge Business Park, Issa Suites is a haven of zen fulfilling your needs for a serene Cebu getaway.

June 8 - the day that tested my airbnb hosting skills.

My first inquiry didn't result in a booking because I failed to respond promptly. At that time, I was not familiar with how to activate mobile notifications. Rookie mistake.

The second inquiry came from a guest who was staying in the same building but wished to transfer to my unit. The only problem was, she couldn't make up her mind and confirm the booking. I mistakenly told her that I would hold the booking until midnight to wait for her decision. Darn, you can't do that when you've turned on Instant Booking.

It was the third inquiry that eventually became a confirmed booking. But this meant I had to turn down the 2nd guest who also wanted to book my space. All of these events unfolded on a single day, June 8, making me question my hosting abilities.

I've learned that while experience is the best teacher, the second-best is having someone share their lessons, so you don't stumble where they did.

Reading about these top three mistakes will certainly prepare you better than I was. Ready? Let's dive in:

You can find the "Availability" and set "Preparation Time" under the "Calendar" 
  1. Not setting preparation time: As a new host, you're eager to get started, but if you don't configure your calendar correctly, you may end up with back-to-back bookings. It's crucial to block off a night before or after each reservation during your initial month, ensuring you have time for cleaning and laundry.
  2. Underestimating cleaning and laundry time: Despite my past experience cleaning condo units part-time, it had been over a decade, and I was a bit rusty. Even with our 24 sqm space, keeping it spotless was challenging. We were well-prepared for our first guests after three months of preparation, but consecutive bookings posed a challenge.
  3. Forgetting parking: As someone without a car, I forgot to consider that some guests might need parking, especially those from Cebu. My first guests happened to need parking, and I was surprised to learn that it cost P500/night. To save them money, I offered them a free parking space in my landlord's gated house. This earned me my first 5-star review!
You will never forget the first-ever review.

In the end, everything worked out. I even received a private message from my first guest wishing me luck on my Airbnb journey, which seemed to bring in more bookings afterward.

Looking back, I did a few things right. Here are some tips that you might want to try:

  • Face time with guests: Despite initial anxiety about meeting strangers, I met my first guests in person. I babbled a bit at first, my small talk a little rusty. I told them I'm a new host and they were my first guests, showed them the space, and wished them a pleasant stay. That night, the guests extended their booking to two nights, possibly appreciating the honesty.
  • Offer Everything you can for guest's comfort: I provided two freshly laundered duvets instead of one, anticipating the needs of my guests, who were overseas Filipino workers. They appreciated the gesture, even leaving a "feels like home" comment.
  • Don't shy away from asking for reviews: While I tend to be shy, asking for feedback is essential, especially as a new host. Being explicit about wanting reviews, whether positive or negative, helps you learn and improve. To encourage guests to leave their feedback, leave a review first (especially if you feel that their stays were great - but if not, hold off - I'll discuss more about this in future posts).

So, that's the story of the first review on my Airbnb listing. It was just a short stay yet it packed a lot of lessons. Here are the three things I immediately did after the first booking:

  • Rent a parking space: This turned out to be a wise decision as subsequent bookings also requested parking. The cost was reasonable at 4k/mo, a relief from the initially feared 10k/mo.
  • Bulk purchase of toiletries: I learned from my mistake of not providing toiletries for my first guests. I now ensure the bottles are always filled and ready for guests.
  • Calendar management: I no longer promise to hold bookings without blocking the calendar. I've learned that it's simpler for interested bookers to confirm their reservations rather than making empty promises.

If you find this helpful or believe someone else can benefit from these stories and tips, please consider subscribing to my blog. It's free!

Get weekly hosting tips & stories - no spam, just insights!