We’ve learned that many experience hosts have been able to grow their businesses by enlisting the help of co-hosts. While deciding to partner with a co-host is up to you, in this article we’ll share some helpful stories from other hosts who have done so.
Experience hosts use co-hosts in different ways. Here are some of the methods we have noticed.
As support providers: In some cases, hosts find people to help with offline or online support tasks, such as handling messages from guests, setting and cleaning up, or shopping for supplies. Hosts have reported that having someone do these tasks helped them focus more on the quality of their experiences.
As stand-ins: Other hosts have used co-hosts to provide the full experience in their absence. This could be permanent, during a seasonal peak, or a way to expand into other areas. Some hosts have done this to add availability during high-demand times of day.
As language specialists: Hosts have also used co-hosts to expand their experience into a different language.
Finding a co-host
Hosts have found people to help them in many different ways, such as:
- Their own networks.
- Friends or family members.
- Posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, or another job board.
- Airbnb summits, host meetups, and experience host community Facebook groups.
Keep in mind that you as the main host will still be responsible for the quality of the experience, and that any negative review of the co-host will be visible on your experience page. Similarly, any behavior by the co-host that violates our Terms of Service or Experience Host Terms can lead to the removal of your experience and potentially even your Airbnb account.
Introducing co-hosts to the experience
Many hosts have shared ways they educate co-hosts about the experience. We’ve gathered their feedback and noted that in many cases, educating follows a loose framework:
Introducing the material: Hosts spend time explaining their experience in detail and clarify the standards they adhere to. They provide a script of the information the co-host will need to deliver, and offer advice on group management.
Shadowing the host: Hosts will then have their new co-host watch them run the experience, suggesting that they pay close attention to logistics, group management, and managing difficult guests.
Shadowing the co-host: Once their co-host starts hosting, hosts will observe them running the experience several times, after which they provide extensive feedback.
General consensus from hosts is that they make sure their co-host is completely ready before letting them run an experience on their own. Of course, these aren’t the only ways to educate co-hosts, so think about what would work best for you.
There are many ways for hosts to compensate those who help them run their experiences. Whenever you think about paying someone to perform services on an experience, you’ll need to follow regulations in your area. Different countries, states, and cities have different licensing requirements and rules. It’s your responsibility as a host to make sure you comply with local laws and regulations.
Some hosts use a revenue share model, meaning they give a percentage of the booking value to their co-hosts. Others pay co-hosts a fixed amount for each experience, or use a combination of these two models.
Think about these options and consider any obligations and other legal requirements set by the relevant government agency for your area. This may include things such as statutory contributions, workplace health and safety, and work permits if your co-host is from a foreign country. Some hosts may be required to obtain certain registrations or permits. This can be a complicated area and it may be a good idea to reach out to a lawyer or your local representative to understand the rules that may apply to you. You could also contact your local chamber of commerce or small business organization for guidance.
Some hosts think about other ways that they can incentivize and reward their co-hosts for doing a great job. Some have shared with us that they organize monthly drinks or lunches for their co-hosts, or even give them bonuses for each five-star review they receive. This encourages them to deliver high quality experiences. Hosts also provide feedback if their co-hosts receive bad reviews. In some cases hosts have stopped working with someone if they keep getting bad reviews.
Reach out to hosts in your community if you’d like to find out more about how they’ve used co-hosting in their businesses. Learn about where they found their co-hosts and how they educate them. Get inspired, and experiment.