For Hosts venturing off the beaten path, clear communication and thoughtful preparation can support a safer and more enjoyable experience. We partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association, leaders in adventure travel, to share best practices for Hosts of Experiences that include outdoor activities.
1. Set the right expectations
Even if you’re a great Host, it’s important to make sure that potential guests are a good match for your experience. It can be helpful to make sure any health, fitness, or other requirements are clear in the description of your experience. Consider providing details about the length of time, and clearly communicate intensity and skill levels. For tips on how to think about intensity and skill levels related to your activity, review the additional resources outlined at the end of this article.
2. Communicate with guests before your experience
Once a guest books, you may try to address concerns before guests ask. Here are some questions and points you might want to include in a message to your guests after they book to help, depending on the type of activities you offer:
- Explain the range of conditions you’ll encounter (i.e. temperature ranges, potential weather conditions, the terrain)
- Outline how much physical activity will be required and ask about health concerns that may affect participation (i.e. food allergy, heart condition)
- Make sure you’re clear on what modifications you’re able or willing to make for guests of varying skill levels or ability
- Outline what will be included or provided by you (i.e. food, snacks, water, specialized gear)
- Include a list of what they’ll need to bring ahead of time (i.e. appropriate clothes, clothing layers, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, equipment like headlamps, insect repellent, and any other special items they might require)
- Share if and where you expect to have cell service coverage
- Share if and when bathroom facilities will be available
- Update your guests if there are any changes to the experience (i.e. meeting location, modes of travel)
Some guests may be going on an experience or doing the type of activity you offer for the first time, so your communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.
3. Give a pre-experience briefing
To help ensure a good experience, before you set out, make sure guests are clear on what they’ll be doing and have a chance to ask any questions. This is also the time to check that your guests have all the food, water, and gear that they’ll need during the experience. If you can anticipate your guests needs, you can make the experience even better.
4. Be serious about safety
As a Host, your preparedness can help prevent safety issues during your experience. Here are some best practices to help you prepare:
- Carrying (and know how to use) an extensive first aid kit for stabilizing an injured guest
- Making sure you have a clear itinerary and plan that all your guests understand
- Sharing specific information about what guests should do if they become lost or injured
- Maintaining cleanliness in food preparation
- Knowing you route and having back-up plans in case the planned route cannot be accessed
- Double-checking that all gear (your gear or the gear your guests bring) is clean, dry, in good condition, and fits each guest properly
- Constantly monitoring guests’ well-being and addressing their needs
5. Have an emergency action plan
You may want to have an emergency action plan that you’ve practiced, as well as the means to evacuate a guest if the unexpected happens. If you’ll be more than an hour away from medical care, it’s best practice to have a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA), along with CPR certification.
We recommend that all guests and Hosts engaging in an experience prepare an emergency plan in case of a natural disaster or any other kind of emergency that could occur during an experience. Find out more about making an emergency plan.
If you need to cancel an experience for an emergency, weather, or safety issues, no penalties will be applied.
6. Keep the community in mind
As a Host of an experience, you have a great opportunity to give back to the local environment and community. One of the ways to do this is to share any local rules or etiquette around the activity of your experience with your guests. You can also look out for your local environment by reducing waste, recycling, and giving back to people in the community.
For more specific tips and for help thinking about intensity and skill levels, the Adventure Travel Trade Association has come up with activity-specific recommendations to help you assess and Host a safe outdoor experiences:
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA): Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2021 Adventure Travel Trade Association. All rights reserved.The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) name and logo are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement or vetting of, express or implied, of any product, service, person, company, opinion or political position. The ATTA does not select or approve, and is not involved in the selection or approval of, Airbnb Experiences or Hosts. For more information about the Adventure Travel Trade Association, visit adventuretravel.biz.