We often share stories about the rewards of being an Airbnb host, from the connections made with guests to the comfort of extra income. But hosting—especially great hosting—takes work and time. We all have responsibilities, jobs, family, pets, social lives, and juggling hosting with personal responsibilities can feel overwhelming at times. How do you find the time for it all without getting burnt out?
“There is always a solution,” says Elle, an experienced Airbnb host who’s been successful at balancing a busy career as an interior decorator with back-to-back bookings at her chic West Village apartment in New York and charming house in the Connecticut countryside. She also leads the Airbnb hosts’ group Bedder Hosting: Perfecting the Guest Experience, which now has 4,000-plus members from around world. The topic of finding balance is a hot one in the forum, Elle says.
“Some of our most enthusiastic hosts are so dedicated to their guests having an exceptional stay that they’re challenged to find their own time and resources for themselves,” says Elle. “They’re givers and sometimes givers swing too far into that giving activity.”
Elle put together some easy steps every host can follow to prevent hosting from becoming more of a chore than a reward.
Determine your goals
Are you hosting primarily to earn money? For companionship? To create more art or share the meals you enjoy preparing? Then it’s important to recognize and feel good about how hosting aligns with and supports these goals. For Elle, Airbnb hosting started as a means to keeping her apartment. She says that initial goal has evolved into being able to provide a great, affordable place to stay in the highly coveted West Village and give guests the opportunity to live like a New Yorker. “I’m proud to be able to share that.”
Surround yourself with resources
And by resources, Elle means those you can “call in a pinch” when, for instance, “you need to get keys to someone at 2 p.m. when you’re working in an office across town.” This includes a community of friends, like-minded neighbors, a cleaning service, or a few people who are willing to work part time or per diem, barter or take payment for cleaning, key hand-off and greeting when you are unable to do it yourself.
Collaborate with local businesses
“Let them know you want to support them and appreciate them supporting you by welcoming your guests,” advises Elle. She has lots of favorite spots in her NYC neighborhood, many of which she’s encouraged to place Airbnb Bélo stickers in their windows as a way of signifying to guests that “we’re happy you’re here.”
Elle relies on the KISS rule as one of her guiding principles for hosting: Keep it Super Simple. “Aim for efficiency and make it easy for yourself by writing out everything a guest may need in the space where they will need it so you don’t have to manage a lot of extraneous communication.” This covers everything from explaining key hand-off to leaving instructions for the coffeemaker. “Streamline all these processes because you will do them over and over.” Elle also highly recommends a simple restock plan of buying essential amenities in bulk to save on cost and time. “To be worried about running out of toilet paper is crazypants!” she says.
Have a back-up plan
In addition to having a list of contacts you can rely on in case of an emergency—plumber, locksmith, urgent care clinic, cleaning service—you should always have backups handy in case your go-to service provider isn’t available.
Trust that there’s always a solution
“My motto at home and in my work life is ‘There is always a solution,’ ” says Elle. “If you aren’t getting the type of guest you’d like, or the level of income, or you’re just feeling something isn’t fitting your schedule well, examine where the problem lies. There is always a solution like creating a new check-in and out timeframe that better suits you, temporarily raising or lowering your rate, or more intuitively designing your space and having Airbnb photograph it to boost your level of guest interest.”
Have you been challenged with host fatigue and found a way to put it to rest? Please share your story in the comments or on social media with #AirbnbHostTip.