From helping guests choose the right experience to keeping them safe, we partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) to provide safety recommendations and best practices to help you host a trekking experience.
Set the right expectations
If there are health, fitness, or other requirements needed to safely enjoy the experience, make this clear in your experience’s description. Make sure you describe the environment and type of trek so it is informative of the characteristics and terrain (for example, desert, coastal or mountain, on or off-trail, open or thick, etc).
Include details about the length of time, exertion and fitness required, and skill levels needed in your experience description.
Here’s a guide from the ATTA to help you communicate to guests what skill level is needed for your trekking experience:
Beginner: Simple trails, easy travel and short distances. No physical requirements besides walking at a normal pace.
Intermediate: These may be trails or easy off trail, on easy to moderate terrain, and a base level of stamina might be required. If a long day or simple multi-day, backpacks are carried with equipment.
Advanced: Expect to walk for hours, steeper sections, sometimes for multiple days. May include non-technical peak ascents, crossing rivers, ridges, and valleys. Usually physical stamina to carry a pack for a full day is required.
Communicate with guests often
Once someone books, you can use Airbnb’s messaging system to introduce yourself and help your guests feel welcome and prepared. Check in with guests to find out if they have any health concerns that may affect their participation. This may be anything from a food allergy to a heart condition. Make sure you’re clear on what modifications you’re able or willing to make to accommodate them. Let them know that you’re available to answer any questions.
You should create an experience where your guests feel comfortable asking questions at any point. Try to anticipate common points of concern (such as how to use the bathroom on your experience, expectations for interaction with others, etc.). Provide your guests with a list of what they’ll need ahead of time. For trekking, this includes making sure guests have the required fitness to enjoy the experience, what equipment you provide, and characteristics of the items they need to provide, for example a pack for carrying personal items, appropriate footwear, and clothing layers. Address any concerns outright–and make yourself available to attend to these and any others questions throughout your experience.
Listen with patience and authentic concern, and try to put yourself in your guests shoes. This could include practical matters like if there will be food, snacks, or water provided, if they should bring their own water bottle, and what bathroom facilities are available. Try to address these concerns before guests have to ask. What may seem normal to you may be difficult or fear-inspiring for your guests, so your communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.
Set expectations with a pre-trip briefing
Before you set out on your experience, make sure guests are clear on what you’ll be doing. Now is the time to check that your guests have all the food, water, and gear that they’ll need during the experience, and that they are ok with the levels of uncertainty and challenge of the trek.
Since some guests may be out of their comfort zone, they may need more of certain items than a local would, so if you can anticipate these needs, you can make the experience even better.
Provide the right gear
If you’re providing gear for your guests, it should be in good condition. For trekking, gear you provide may include packs, shelters, pads, sleeping bags, cookware, plates and cups, trekking poles and water bottles.
If you don’t provide gear, check your guests’ gear such as packs, tents, boots and clothing layers to make sure they will be good enough and that they are in good shape.
You should carry (and know how to use) an extensive first aid kit for stabilizing an injured guest and safely evacuating them and have communication device(s) to request outside assistance if needed.
Choose the proper conditions, and prepare for the unexpected
Talk with your guest about the range of conditions you’ll encounter, including weather, terrain, altitude, length and elevation changes of the trail, and how much weight they’ll carry. If you are in areas where heavy rains may happen, you should monitor the weather and manage the risk of flash floods. Let them know how they can best prepare for these, as well as unexpected but possible challenges. Some treks, like longer treks or in harsh environments, might experience a lot more variety in conditions than beginner treks.
If you need to cancel an experience for an emergency, weather, or safety issues, no penalties will be applied. Learn more about the cancellation policy for Experiences
Keeping the trek fun: always choose safety
Make sure you have a clear itinerary and plan that all your guests understand. This should include specific info about what they should do if they become lost or injured.
As a Host, you can work to prevent some of the more common problems in trekking such as handling unexpected weather, or supporting a guest who is not adequately prepared for the time, distance, and conditions encountered. Some strategies to avoid these conditions are double checking the route before heading out and making sure guests have been adequately informed about the intensity of the experience.
Some of the challenges will not be prevented completely, like tiredness, long days, river crossings, steep terrain, etc., so make sure that you are constantly attentive to changing risk and supporting the guests or adapting the program as necessary.
You need to have an emergency action plan that you’ve practiced and 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 (or equivalent). Find out more about making an emergency plan.
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.