How to welcome your first guests

Here’s how to create a great guest experience – the first time and every time.

You may feel a few jitters as you anticipate the arrival of your first guests. “I was so excited but also super nervous”, says Host Colleen from Richmond, Canada. But she quickly discovered how much fun and how rewarding hosting can be. “We could not have had a better experience! They have returned every year and have become very close friends.”

Want to create a great experience for your first guests and beyond? Check out this five-step guide.

Step 1: Communicate early and often

Welcoming guests begins even before they walk through the door. By replying quickly to guest messages, you’re letting them know you care about their needs. These early conversations are also a great opportunity to set expectations. Some helpful tips:

  • Be honest. Guests may have missed important details in your listing. Do you need to remind them that there will be pets, other guests, or family members in the shared spaces of your home?
  • Reply the easy way. You can use messaging or the app to reply to guests at home and on the go.
  • Think ahead. If you expect to send similar information to multiple guests, save time by using quick replies (formerly called saved messages).

Step 2: Make arrival and check-in easy

You can answer commonly asked questions and provide a soft landing for guests by filling in all of the fields under the “info for guests” section of your Listings tab, including directions to your space, check-in instructions, and wifi. This information will help provide your guests with a more seamless check-in experience. It will also be used to populate your Arrival Guide, which will appear in the top of guests’ Trips tabs 48 hours before they check in.

Step 3: Keep things clean and tidy

A clean space is an inviting space. If guests encounter balls of dust and fluff in the bedroom or food stains in the kitchen, that might be all they remember about your space. Stray hairs are a big turn-off, and too many personal items will make the space feel cluttered. Be sure to pay extra close attention to sheets, towels, floors, and bathrooms.

Step 4: Anticipate guest needs

Every guest is different, but most will expect to have access to certain items and information right away. Consider:

  • Stocking your space with essential amenities, including towels, linen, soap, and toilet paper
  • Updating your house manual to provide guests with important information about spaces that are off-limits, instructions for appliances, the wifi, etc.
  • Creating a guidebook featuring your favourite restaurants, supermarkets, coffee shops, and more
  • Making yourself available via text, phone, or email in case anything goes wrong
  • Having the phone numbers of key individuals, such as the plumber, handyperson, internet and cable support agent, or neighbours, easily accessible if you’re going to be away

Step 5: Give and get reviews

Your first few reviews are crucial to your success – your average star rating will appear on your listing after you receive three reviews and may affect how you rank in the search results.

You’ll also have the opportunity to review guests. Be honest and respectful in your approach.

“Writing reviews on guests is just as important as setting up the room for them”, say Beverlee and Suzie of Oakland, California. “You’re letting another potential Host decide if they want to host them or not.” The review process helps build trust for guests and Hosts, creating a better experience for the entire community.

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