Being hospitable is a good chance to truly know our self.
As a host, I go overboard and tire myself out by overdoing. Yes, I am an extra anxious host…
What can I do? It is just my nature. Well, this line, even I would say is pretty lame and inexcusable.
Hosting has to be stress free for both, the guest as well as the host.
How does one achieve this balance?
First question is by asking yourself, why do I want to host? Followed by what are the finer nuances of being a good host?
There are many reasons for hosting, primary one being, extra income that can be useful in many ways.
Being a good host starts with getting to know your guest/s and that can be achieved by asking a few key questions.
- What are their likes and dislikes?
- What are their expectations from you?
- How sensitive they are to noise, smell?
- Are they vegetarian, prefer vegan or like meat?
- Are they morning person or a night owl?
- Prefer cooking their own meals or would like sharing/having food cooked by you?
The idea is to get to know their routine and daily habits so that will give you an idea about what to expect during their stay.
These things also depend on if you are sharing your home are they have the place to themselves. Regardless, you definitely need to make some ground rules to have a stress free hosting.
In order to avoid getting all knotted up, it is better to prepare a list of questions for yourself too. Treat this session as if you are getting reoriented with your place.
The first thing I do when I am expecting a guest is to take a walk around my house and start inspecting rooms.
Is my bathroom ‘fit’ enough to serve my guests?
Answer this question by checking for loose toilet seat. You can fix the seat by simply tightening the screw behind the seat.
Commode tends to get shaky if the caulking/seal has lost the grip. Another DIY project if you can handle. Get a tube and get caulking…
While you are working with the caulking, check the caulk around the bathtub too. One time, I reached home after work and found water dripping from the ceiling on my living room carpet. I have a bathroom right above my living room and my nephew had come to live with us and my family took it for granted that our home was in top shape. Little did we know that little missing caulk around the tub will cost us few hundred dollars.
Locks on the bathroom door—check them. You don’t want your guests ranting their views on the website. Peace of mind for you and them too.
How about the bedroom/s?
When we talk about bedrooms, the most important thing we are looking for is quiet and peace. Two ingredients essential for a good quality sleep.
Check everything—from clean sheets, to stuff beneath the bed, like a forgotten travel case left after your last travel perhaps.
Most importantly check if the closets have everything they might need like towels, spare sheets, extra bedside lamp, hangers.
We all want to avoid awkward situations where a guest has to make requests for clean sheets, hangers etc.
About items on the dresser like lotions and creams, etc, I don’t think hosts should bother too much because these come under the category of personal preferences.
Ask your guests if they want you to provide them some grooming essentials or if they prefer their own brand?
With some essentials covered, are you planning on sharing you kitchen with your guests?
Seems like you just answered a yes to that.
Bear in mind you are under no obligation to share your food, grocery with them unless specified and charged.
This is the thing about hosting with Airbnb, you can make your terms conditions known in advance. Yes, you can be courteous to your guests like a good mannered person would. That would totally be your call my dears.
Go around the kitchen and make notes for yourself. And check for the provisions.
Get to know if they are planning on cooking meat, vegetarian, vegan, etc.
Is there a schedule you would like setting up cooking meals?
Are you sensitive to some food smell? Ask them the same question.
There are some vegans and vegetarians that do not allow meat in their homes. Not just their kitchen.
Coexistence, even temporary, takes a lot of adjustments. And in this case it is being clear of the dos and don’ts and other expectations to avoid unpleasantness.
Or, if you are okay with meat being cooked in your kitchen, would you prefer they use different pots and pans? In that case, you might have to make provisions for such utensils. It is not ideal for the guests to carry pots and pans while travelling.
How about, oil, spices and other fresh produce like herbs and stuff? Are you okay if they share/use for their cooking? We all know grocery shopping is a challenging chore, what with the sorting, cleaning, and stocking etc. You might want to be clear on those too.
Coffee, tea, milk, sugar and so many little things that make our home are all in the kitchen. And it is precisely for that reason, our kitchen is known as the heart of our home.
Looks like you might have more questions for your guests over the kitchen sharing than other rooms.
Let your guests know what is off limits and what is common/can be shared in the kitchen.
Are they willing to pay for parking? (if you have extra parking space, great) Most visitors’ parking lots in residential area charge a fee.
Wi-fi connections in the house, is there a password they should have an access to?
Do they know how to operate the new hi-tech alarm system you have installed?
How about televisions in the house? Do you want them to stick to a certain schedule so that the children can concentrate on their schoolwork?
Or, if they have one in the bedroom, are there any instructions they need to get before operating, say the remote/s and the television?
My house has the basic cable, followed by two or three other inputs we have allotted on the television. When my friends come home for a potluck fare, the first question they ask for is inputs allotted for Internet casting, (Netflix, YouTube, etc.) By now they know the remotes used for each feature because they have almost similar features/extras for their television entertainment.
About pets, smoking, etc.
Do you have pets? If yes, what do they need to know? is your pet a social being or likes their ‘me time’ woof/meow?
Ask them if they are allergic to pet hair/fur.
Alternatively, are they allowed to bring their pets? I am positive you have listed this feature but guests tend to (sometimes) grab the grey areas and go with the flow too. Or, it could be that their sitter could not accommodate due to some unforeseeable reason.
Let them know the reasons (allergies, condo rules and regulations) why pets are off limits.
We are all health conscious, but some people still like to smoke a cigarette or two after their meals. It could be either the host or the guest.
Clean, clean, tidy, no mess, organized and all that comes with maintaining a decent looking living space. Like less to no clutter? Have clear rules.
Dishes in the sink most times are a case in point. If you are the kind that does not like facing the dishes first thing in the morning, let your guests know that they have to load the dishwasher right after dinner. Remember the phrase—‘my home, my rules’.
Garbage disposable these days is getting a bit personalized, if I may say so. As a guest, I am always open to getting tips on composting, recycling, reducing. And my guests too share my sentiments and respect my requests.
Guess we all do care for our environment.
Speaking about reduce and no waste, putting little reminders in the bathroom including tips on reducing wasting water is considered appropriate. Of course, you cannot enforce.
Remember, hosting and being a guest are two sides of the same coin. I have hosted guests and have been hosted as well (not for airbnb).
And one time there was an accident. The hosts were living in another part of the city, my family and I had their apartment to ourselves. I was forced to place a sizzling pan on a rug in the dining hall because the handle got heated up. Yes, I paid for the damages.
Remember people are different. Mutual agreements not withstanding, there can still be plenty of loopholes, grey areas to cover (yes, even after putting everything in black and white.)
Learn how to handle challenging situations in a calm and collected manner. What will you do if a guest brings a pet along even after you mentioned about the ‘No Pets’ rule?
Be prepared to find debris, other unwanted and unmentionable stuff after they leave.
Take pictures, document occurrences as proof and inform the organization/Airbnb.
No, you are not going to witness such scenes every time a guest checks-out. There are plenty of decent people out there. Good mannered, courteous and respecting set limits and rules.
Protect your interests and if you would like to hire professional cleaners, let your guests know there will be a cleaning fee/deposit.
Whatever works for you. Make it clear to them.
They say, knowing what we want, helps us to know what we want of others.