Guests book experiences for all sorts of reasons; a celebration, a learning opportunity, a night out. While we would struggle to list all of the reasons a guest might book, we’ve identified three main standards to ensure guests get the most from any experience: expertise, insider access, and connection.
These should sound familiar. We review new experiences to ensure they meet all three standards and after a guest attends an experience, they provide feedback about each standard when they leave a review. This feedback is translated into your host dashboard.
So how can you ensure you or your co-hosts are meeting expectations and encouraging positive feedback throughout the experience? Try thinking about a guest’s experience in 5 stages.
Stage 1: Before
A guest puts a lot of time and energy into selecting the right experience, so you can help them feel excited about their choice by sending them a welcome message. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your hosting expertise and kick-off positive interactions.
- Set expectations: Provide details on parking and transportation and list what they should bring
- Get to know them: Are they celebrating a special occasion? Do they have allergies to account for?
- Bonus: Consider sending another message a day or two before to update guests on the weather forecast, how to spot you, and any other last minute or important details.
Stage 2: Introduction
You and your guests are usually meeting each other for the first time. To start the experience off strong, begin by sharing your story to establish your credibility and passion for your experience. This is also a good opportunity to establish any ground rules and remind guests of what’s ahead (where the bathroom is, how much will they be sitting or moving).
- Start with an icebreaker: Icebreakers are a great way to encourage connection with you and the entire group! You can get guests to participate and meet each other with a question or name game. Being open and vulnerable helps encourage them to do the same.
Natasha hosts a nature meditation experience in San Francisco. She starts each experience with a story of her first memory of feeling love for nature, establishing her passion and credibility through being open and vulnerable. She then encourages others to take part by hosting an Icebreaker where other guests share their name and their own first memories in nature. Mini Nature Retreat on the Coast
Stage 3: Activity
This is where you can really highlight the unique access that you are providing to your guests! Consider emphasizing what makes each location or activity special both culturally and to you personally. Illustrate your passion and perspective through stories.
- Encourage all guests to participate: Taking part is much more engaging than passive watching.
- Build toward a “wow” moment: Think about reaching an epic view or pulling a batch of treats out of the oven – this is the moment to take a group picture to celebrate their achievements and solidify the group’s connection.
- Bonus: Including an element of ‘surprise and delight’ can make guests feel truly cared for. That could be providing sunscreen on a sunny day or having them try your favorite local snack.
Stage 4: Wrap-up
At the end of the experience, think about how you can reinforce the connections the group has made and leave guests with a lasting impression of your time together. This is a good opportunity to express your thanks and remind guests how important their review is for the success of your business.
- Ask for feedback in person: Our research team recommends asking, “If you had to shorten the experience, what part would you take out and what part would you definitely keep?”
At the end of her salsa-making experience in Mexico City, Natalia suggests that her guests take a walk over to a unique museum nearby. She describes the landmarks they will see along the way, providing local context and history about each one. This demonstrates her insider access and helps guests solidify their new connections through a second shared activity. Learn to Cook Mexican Salsas
Stage 5: After
Following the conclusion of the experience, guests have thirty days to write a review. Ideally, they’ll rush online and tell us all about how much fun they had, but sometimes guests need a bit of prompting. We give them plenty of reminders, but you can also reinforce the importance of a review with a follow-up message a day or two later.
- Inspire instant nostalgia: Try recounting a favorite memory and share a few photos, including that epic group photo you took during the experience.
- Remind them to review: Be up front about how much that review can mean for your business. If they had a positive experience, they will want to support you in any way they can!
Explore the 5-stages for your own experience using these worksheets.