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Host2Host was named an expert in the vacation rental industry on Redfin. Check out the article we were featured in: 20 Tips on How to Maintain a 5-Star Vacation Rental | Redfin.
Host2Host’s very own past-president, co-owner of Summit Prairie, and our eagle-eyed newsletter editor, Alan Colley, provided an insightful suggestion that made the final cut.
Read all about it and come away with some useful suggestions of your own.
May’s monthly meetup, coordinated by the Education Committee was super inspiring and left attendees with the tips and tools they need to launch successful direct booking strategies. If you missed the event, you can watch the video here and enjoy my recap.
Host and Host2Host co-founder, Debi Hertert, asked lots of helpful questions of panelists Anthony Rallo, Kim Fitzpatrick, and David Boe who all offer the opportunity for guests to book directly with their properties in one way or another. She also made sure folks felt included and that everyone had the opportunity to participate in the casual, but educational conversation.
Topics included key reasons to offer direct booking, how to accept money, minimizing your tax burden, reducing risk, cancellation policies, minimum age requirements, rental agreements, rate strategies, and direct-booking incentives. Whew!
It was packed with helpful information and a ton of useful tools for hosts to employ as they manage their businesses:
Have you ever wanted to list your rental on a fab-u-lous, niche website? You’ll never have a better chance than now! Host2Host business affiliate, Fabstayz, is PROUD to offer an amazing opportunity to add your Airbnb, Vrbo or Booking listing to their advertising platform for as little as $5.99 per listing and be featured through the end of the year!
This latte-priced offer is being shared with Host2Host members first, ahead of Pride Month and the busy summer travel season. So create your listing with them today!
In addition to this super-discounted $5.99 listing rate, they are excited to announce their brand new Fab! Portland page is live and prominently features Host2Host properties!
To celebrate their launch in the Portland area and their recent partnership with Travel Portland, they’ll be sending engaging content creators like transgender influencer Jordyn Pollack @jojopollack to capture some of the fun, quirky sides of the city that visitors won’t want to miss and Fab! Sponsorships at Portland Pride and Seattle Pride!
Written by Alan Colley, Host2Host Founding Member, former President & co-host of the Summit Prairie Fire Lookout in Tiller, OR
Has the notion of “hospitality” once again been lost in the hustle to maximize our investment? Have we somehow been seduced to believe that hospitality is merely about our winning? Has that one element of what being a host means been lost in the drive to be a “successful business professional”? I don't think so, but I believe it’s important to keep a clear eye on the essence of hosting.
Changes in Short-term Rental Hospitality
Anyone who has been working in this field of short-term rental hospitality for any length of time knows how this segment of the industry has morphed from what I might call the “mom/pop” model to the grand corporate investment model. The primary metrics now seem to be about the number of bookings, maximizing income, and superior reviews.
None of these are bad. In fact, I believe they are essential to being good business people. Yet, I maintain that with all of those skills in your pocket, if you have somehow been seduced to regard them as your primary focus, you miss the most important ingredient - to surround your guests with welcome.
Welcoming and Embracing Hospitality
More than ever I believe that the world still yearns to feel welcomed, to feel that they can “belong anywhere”. In my view, the best hosts lead with caring.
Caring is the secret sauce for being a successful host.
“At its core, hospitality is about receiving guests, making them feel welcome, and providing them with food, shelter, comfort, and safety.”
Given where we are today, how could we do better at shining the light on this core ingredient? What role can those of us with some seasoning share that wisdom? How might we shine more light on what it truly means to embrace hospitality?
Engaging Guests with a Warm, Welcoming Embrace
It occurs to me that the warm embrace of welcome that one feels is a natural result of our caring for the humanity of each guest, no matter who they are. Being a professional business person is just the baseline for meeting a guest’s expectations.
But, when we reach beyond that to anticipate and answer a particular guest’s unique questions and needs clearly signals our specific attention to them as individuals. How do we do that? By asking, by engaging them in conversation.
In our own hosting business, we make a point of calling each guest before they arrive to be sure they know how to get to our place, to share what they will find when they arrive, and to answer questions they might have. We try to greet them upon arrival and to say goodbye as they depart. And we make a point to do a follow-up call to say thank you for coming.
Appreciating Uniqueness and Variety
Just as the whole short-term rental phenomenon awakened travelers to the richness of meeting real people and experiencing the diversity of those encounters, in contrast to the vanilla sameness of hotels, so too, I believe we need to appreciate that we are not hosting vanilla one-size-fits-all guests. Recognizing and appreciating the uniqueness and variety of our guests, is one way to show attention and to welcome and embrace them.
How can we keep our focus on this essential element of our hosting?
I still enjoy this reminder from esteemed poet and author, Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”The
The cancellation policy you select can have a big impact on a host’s ability to earn income since cancellations result in lost revenue and the potential for unfilled bookings.
In this article, we’ll review the policies offered by Airbnb. Obviously, you will want to read the specifics carefully before choosing the right option for your listing.
Airbnb Cancellation Policies
The answer to this potentially controversial question is undoubtedly, Yes. And probably even better than you can. To test this theory, I asked ChatGPT to create a compelling listing description for a hypothetical short-term rental property using the following, mediocre prompt:
Are you able to write a compelling listing description for an Airbnb property with two bedrooms and one bathroom? It is a whole house with a front porch facing a beautiful lake. Features include a hot tub, lakeview, large TV, family gameroom, and chef's kitchen.
This is what it delivered, in just a few seconds:
Welcome to your serene lakeside escape, a stunning two-bedroom, one-bathroom retreat designed for relaxation and entertainment! This enchanting, privately-accessed whole house boasts an array of luxurious amenities to elevate your stay, nestled amidst breathtaking lake views that promise to captivate you from the moment you arrive.
As you step through the front door, let your gaze be drawn to the mesmerizing view of the lake from the cozy front porch. Unwind with your morning coffee or evening wine as you revel in the tranquility of the surrounding nature.
Inside, the spacious and inviting family game room is the perfect spot for making cherished memories with your loved ones. Enjoy endless entertainment options with our large TV, a diverse board game collection, and comfortable seating for everyone to gather and relax.
The open-concept, chef's kitchen is a true culinary delight, fully equipped with state-of-the-art appliances and a generous selection of cookware. Unleash your inner gourmet and create delectable meals that can be savored around the elegant dining table while basking in the panoramic lake view.
Both bedrooms are meticulously designed to provide the utmost comfort, featuring plush beds and premium linens that guarantee a restful night's sleep. The stylishly appointed bathroom offers a pristine environment for freshening up after a day of lakeside adventures.
Your stay wouldn't be complete without indulging in the private hot tub, where you can soak your cares away under a canopy of stars. The outdoor area also features a BBQ grill and patio furniture, making it the perfect spot for alfresco dining and soaking up the serene ambiance.
Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family vacation, our enchanting lakeside haven offers the perfect blend of comfort, entertainment, and natural beauty. Book your unforgettable stay now, and let the magic of the lake whisk you away!
If you’re not already using a program like ChatGPT to help with your marketing, what are you waiting for? Get started and enhance your listing description today!
Host2Host business affiliates and interested hosts gathered last week at the 3rd Annual Vendor Showcase to connect with one another, share information about their services, and learn more about how we can help each other be successful.
Board Member, Anthony Rallo, kept the conversation flowing and gave each speaker plenty of time to talk about their offerings. We were excited to hear from several new business affiliates as well as some who have supported us from the very beginning.
We launched a poll at the end of the meetup to learn more about how people feel about in-person activities. We found that 80% of those on the call would have attended if it were held in-person. Look for lots more in-person opportunities to connect in the near future.
We are pleased to announce the winner of our first vacation rental raffle of 2023! Loretta Spahmer will have a terrific time visiting the Lakeside Lodge in Montana -- congratulations! Look for more raffle offers later this year and maybe you can be the next lucky winner!
If you have a property or item you’d like to donate to Host2Host and have featured in a future newsletter, in social media, and in other communications, we’d love to hear from you! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are pleased to share with you that the Community Committee has a new Chair. With a background in marketing, communications, and non-profit management, Joel Selling is the perfect person to assume leadership of the Community Committee. You can read more about Joel, his wife Nancy, and their gorgeous, beachfront family-home in Lincoln City here. Thanks for volunteering, Joel!
After the success of the FUN(d) Raising auction in December, we’ve decided to keep the fun rolling in 2023! Periodically we’ll raffle off a super awesome prize generously donated by a Host2Host member. You can support Host2Host and maybe even win a great prize!
Get ready to experience the breathtaking beauty of Montana's nature and help a good cause at the same time! By buying a raffle ticket, you could be one of the first lucky people to stay at a stunning, newly renovated, Montana Lakeside Lodge with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, offering you and your loved ones the perfect opportunity to explore everything Big Sky Country has to offer.
What's more, every ticket sold will go towards supporting Host2Host, so not only will you have a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, but you'll also be doing your part to make a difference in the hosting community.
From skiing at Blacktail Mountain to biking at Legacy Bike Park, boating in Flathead Lake, and swimming, sunbathing, and playing on the banks, there's no shortage of fun activities to enjoy. And when the day is done, you can kick back and relax at one of Montana's best- loved restaurants or bars, such as Tamarack Brewing.
With a normal value of over $250 per night, this incredible vacation can be yours for just $25 per raffle ticket, and if you're the lucky winner, you can even take advantage of a 10% discount on additional nights. Don't miss your chance to create unforgettable memories and support a great cause – buy your raffle ticket today!
Prize DetailsThe prize includes 2 FREE NIGHTS at the lodge for up to 8 people. Additional nights can be reserved with a 10% discount. The winner must pay the $250 cleaning fee. Sorry, no pets and no smoking inside the home. Limit 3 cars in the driveway. No reservations are accepted in July or on holidays. Expires on May 1, 2024.
Raffle DetailsThere are only 40 raffle tickets available for purchase at $25 each, so you’ll have a great chance of winning! Oh, and we’re sweetening the pot too! You can buy 2 tickets for $45 or 5 tickets for $100! If you like those odds, check out the raffle website here. You do not need to be a Host2Host member to participate!
The last day to buy tickets is April 22nd or until they sell out. The RallyUp raffle website will automatically, randomly select a winner on April 23rd and the winner will be notified shortly thereafter. Don’t miss your opportunity to win a relaxing stay at this absolutely stunning home for yourself, or as a gift for someone you love.
Help Host2Host Help You
Funds raised from this raffle will help pay for the Host2Host membership website from Wild Apricot, whose subscription costs over $1,100 every year! We would love to count you in, so head over to RallyUp to buy your tickets now!
If you’d like to offer a vacation rental, like Kim kindly did, or have other awesome prizes to contribute to future raffles, email us at email@example.com.
Host2Host® is a registered trademark of Host2Host.org, a member trade association for the short-term rental community.