The winter holidays can feel like the busiest time of the year, but did you know that it’s also the busiest travel season? The last week of the year is the busiest time for many Airbnb hosts — we expect almost twice as many travelers to stay in Airbnb homes compared to today! In fact, last year 3 million people stayed in an Airbnb on New Year’s Eve alone.
Read on for tips to make sure you’re making the most of this moment, as the winter presents distinct opportunities to get attention from travelers, and charm them with holiday cheer. Here are a few ideas for turning this season’s greetings into this season’s bookings.
Seize the season
While some may choose to spend their winter vacation with family and friends, not all holidays are best celebrated at home. New Year’s is a great example of a time when travelers and locals alike are looking for something lively to do around other people, and options are often limited and overpriced. How can your Airbnb Experience be the exception?
Proactively adding more dates for holiday travelers will help them feel confident that they will be in good company on these important days, and could give your experience additional bookings since other hosts might be away.
You can also think about “winter holidays” more broadly—Valentine’s Day in February is another time travelers could be looking for something special to do that’s different from the dinners and drinks of holidays past. Here’s a short list of holidays from different regions to help you brainstorm:
Hanukkah: Evening of December 2–Evening of December 10
St. Nicholas Day: December 6
Winter Solstice: December 21
St. Lucia Day: December 13
Christmas Eve: December 24
Christmas Day: December 25
Kwanzaa: December 26–January 1
New Year’s Eve: December 31
New Year’s Day: January 1
Three King’s Day: January 6
Mardi Gras: February 13
Valentine’s Day: February 14
Lunar New Year: February 16
Channel the holiday spirit
Winter has a way of transforming places. A sleepy village becomes a lively light show, a local flea market becomes a holiday hotspot. This is your chance to share sights and stories that are specific to the season. If you’re making a meal, can you add some traditional holiday flavors? Can you make a holiday craft? You can even slightly rework your experience’s title or add these holiday specific moments into your experience description to reflect these changes.
For example, Danijela creates a holiday edition of her photography experience that includes mulled wine and locations chosen to match the theme, and Petra offers a limited-edition version of her walking tour that explores the Christmas markets of Budapest.
If a small change doesn’t feel like enough, you can also launch a holiday-specific experience, like Ian who takes his guests on a holiday shopping tour in Montreal or Deborah and Fiamma who host this Italian Christmas party with a four-course meal and good company.
Winter holiday traditions are some of the most precious, fascinating, and cross-culturally relatable that we have. What better way to make your guests feel like they belong.
Prepare for the weather
If your holiday season comes with uncomfortable or unpredictable weather, with some extra planning, the show can go on even in unfavorable conditions.
For example, if your group is outside for long periods of time, build in breaks to defrost with a warm drink. Also consider bringing extra gloves, scarves, or other layers to help your guests bundle up. Remember that unexpected circumstances are an opportunity to show your adaptability and commitment to the guests’ comfort.
Don’t forget to use your experience description to make sure your guests are aware of the extra details you’ve thought through this season to keep them comfortable.
The most challenging moment was when I had an Experience booked on a day that ended up being very cold (it was actually an ice storm)! Since my Experience is primarily outdoors, I worked in some hot coffee stops, and found warm-up spots throughout to make sure they were comfortable. My guests were such troopers! I learned that when you’re working with the elements, you have to be flexible and adjust your route accordingly, even if your initial plan is perfectly timed.
—Jess, photography host in Toronto
A change of seasons brings other changes along with it. Switching out your wardrobe, planning for new daylight hours, weatherproofing for snow, rain, or heat, depending on where you are in the world. We hope these tips give you a few ideas for seasonal adjustments that can also extend to your experience.