David Boe, host of Discover Portland’s Amazing Arboretum!, shares his top 3 tips for communicating thoughtfully with guests. Read on to understand how his communication skills help him earn 5-star reviews!

The way you handle guest communications plays a huge role in the success of your Airbnb Experience. While an informative and fun-to-read profile is essential, a few simple tips on messaging your guests can pay outsized rewards in good feelings and five-star reviews. Here are three of my favorites.

1. Use pre-written messages to provide a ridiculous amount of information

When someone decides to book your experience, they’ve considered several other options before settling on yours. To make sure they remember the most important details, I always send a carefully crafted message that explains exactly where and what time we’ll meet, along with relevant information about parking and public transit. Since my experience takes place in a public park, I also include a link to the park’s web page.

Here’s what I send to my guests:


Thanks for booking. I look forward to meeting you outside the Arboretum’s Visitor Center tomorrow morning at 10AM. I’m sure you’ll enjoy our hike, which will be both invigorating and informative.

Do you plan to arrive in a car, by public transit, or will you be using Uber or Lyft?

If you’ll be on public transit, be aware that it’s at least a ten minute walk from the MAX station at the Oregon Zoo. Luckily, there’s a free shuttle beginning at 9:30am that runs every 15 minutes and stops at the Arboretum on a continuous loop between the Zoo and the Japanese Garden.

In any case, any mapping app should bring you right to the address at 4000 S.W. ##### Blvd. with no problem at all. I’ll be waiting for you near the entrance to the visitor center which is at that address, just beyond the shuttle stop.

In addition to the free street parking along Fairview Boulevard (often full) there are two paid parking lots. The lot on the uphill side of the street is directly adjacent to the visitor center. The other lot is across the street directly in front of the Arboretum’s Picnic Shelter.

Additional parking information can be found at Portland’s Parks and Recreation website, including current notices: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?&propertyid=189&action=ViewPark

There are restrooms and a drinking fountain at the visitor center, which we’ll also walk past about halfway through the hike.

I look forward to meeting you!


2. Send a reminder at least 12 hours before you meet

I keep a couple variations of this message in a note or notepad file on my computer and my iPhone so that I can easily cut and paste it into a group message to my guests. I send this message the night before our Experience to make sure that they receive it in advance, but (hopefully) close enough to the meeting that it’s still fresh. Guests often express gratitude to receive such timely, relevant and helpful information.

David’s guests, Desirée and Justin, caught mid-joy jump!

3. Share photos that reaffirm the experience

During our two hour hike, I really enjoy sharing the most impressive, truly magical moments along the way. After leading this Experience dozens of times, I’ve learned when and where the best photo ops are, and can quickly position guests to snap a great portrait (the newest iPhone’s Portrait mode is ideal for this) that records the best joy points of the visit.

Guests are often amazed by how great they look in these Experience photos, but it makes sense: People look their best when they are truly happy and enjoying themselves. A photo taken at a moment of peak experience is practically guaranteed to be great.

“Great start to trying out the Airbnb Experience. Dave is one of the best guides we’ve encountered so far since traveling! He’s extremely kind, knowledgeable and accommodating.” – Jacqueline, one of David’s recent guests

After the Experience, it’s a simple task to send photos to them using the Airbnb messaging app. Guests are truly delighted to receive such a thoughtful and deeply personal souvenir. I’ve been fortunate to be rewarded with enthusiastic reviews!

We asked David for any final thoughts on being a thoughtful host:

In creating my Airbnb Experience, I was challenged by a remark in the instructions that experiences should be ‘life-changing.’

It seemed like a tall order for a two-hour hike. But the idea forced me to sharpen my thinking. How could I  change someone’s life during a walk in the woods? To my surprise, the more I researched, the more facts and stories I found to share that leave my guests gasping in astonishment. This is indeed a magical place, and so much more than I ever imagined. And yes, a two-hour hike in my extended backyard can indeed be life-changing. My guests have confirmed as much!”

This piece was guest authored by David Boe. David is an Airbnb Superhost and also an Experience Host in Portland, Oregon.

Photo by Chelsea Richardson