Thinking back to some of my memorable AirBnb experiences, I am struck by two that are so different. One involved a big trip to Los Angeles for my mom’s 80th birthday. I had a long list of criteria that included needing to be within walking distance of my brother’s condo, near to the celebration venue and to have a kitchen and dining area that could accommodate my immediate family. After diligent searching, I found what I had hoped to be the one. Now, I love traveling and will happily hop on a plane to go anywhere anytime (except, perhaps, during a pandemic). My mom, not so much. She frets and stresses. My goal was to make the whole thing easy peasy. So after an uneventful nonstop flight from Raleigh to LAX and her first Uber ride to our West Hollywood AirBnB, I thought, I was on top of it all. But then…we arrived.
While I’m not going to tell you a horror story of dirty sheets and nonfunctioning air conditioners, what we did find was almost as equally hard to deal with. This not inexpensive short term rental had no coffee make. I mean! Really! No coffee maker! I just don’t know what the host could be thinking. The listing advertised a full kitchen. For $30, or less even, the host could have easily met my expectations. It’s not hard, but this was a big, “little thing” that I had to deal with. Seeking out the host, it turned out that she didn’t have a coffee maker because she didn’t drink coffee. Fortunately, my brother had an extra coffee maker to loan us (we are apples from the same tree). But having to provide my own caffeine delivery system put a bad taste in my mouth immediately upon arrival.
On the other hand, several years later, a weekend trip to Asheville started at the Nature Lover’s Retreat in West Asheville. The hosts, Christina and Hal are travel writers and photographers and had decorated the place with their own photos and their personality shown through the decor in the most endearing way. They lived on the property and were the epitome of hospitality: there if you needed them, but not in your face. The unit was sweet and clean and had a great coffee maker, with delicious coffee provided. I’ve happily recommended this spot to friends visiting Asheville and hope to go back very soon.
These experiences are examples of one of our strongest beliefs: to be a good host–and get five star reviews, word of mouth recommendations and repeat customers–you need to be good at hospitality. This means being available, but not interfering; anticipating guests’ needs, regardless of your own needs and expectations; and paying attention to all the little details.