Archives December 2018

2018 year in review

My goodness. Can you believe it’s the last week of 2018?? I certainly can’t. 

I like to periodically spend some time reflecting on major events and achievements. The end of a year certainly qualifies as a major event in my book, so please forgive me as I do some reflecting. 

2018 has been a busy year for me.

I’ve more than tripled my client base and created multiple online course offerings. I’ve also started learning about online marketing and advertising – a never-ending learning curve if I’ve ever seen one! On the personal side, I’ve traveled to multiple states and several countries, including 2 glorious weeks in the Italian countryside. And my husband and I have become homeownership DIY extraordinaires – including that time we rented goats to eat the ivy in our yard! 🙂

You may be hearing this and be frustrated with yourself. Perhaps your year has not been nearly as productive or satisfying as mine has. 

You know what? That’s ok.

Next week is the start of a new year. A new opportunity to do the things you’ve always been dreaming about.

Lots of people look at new years as fresh starts. The problem is, when they lose momentum, they don’t try to restart themselves until the beginning of the next year. In the meantime, they’ve lost a whole year of their lives to stagnation and frustration. 

In 2019, I encourage you to look for more fresh starts outside of January 1st. The beginning of every month. The beginning of every week, even. Season changes. Birthdays or anniversaries. Whatever you need to keep yourself motivated to pursue your goals.

You can do this! 

Find an accountability buddy, make a schedule for yourself, and get going. When you fall off the bandwagon, get back on it again the next day (or week, or month, etc). Don’t waste another year. Don’t let another December 31st creep up on you. Make 2019 a year to remember!

P.S. Is hosting something you’ve been thinking about for a while? Head over to my services page to see what I can do to help you get there!

Tuesday Tip: Mattress covers

 

 

Pop quiz: what’s one of the biggest potential investments you can make in your space, which also has the potential to be most easily destroyed by your guests?

Answer: mattresses.

Get mattress covers for all your beds! Even a cheap mattress is a large investment that should be protected. You’d much rather pay $30-50 to buy a new mattress cover than $500 dollars to buy a new mattress. 

Consider it a way to protect your investments. And if you think you’ll never need it…you’re wrong. Just do yourself a favor and go buy one.

Happy hosting!

How to quickly elevate your space

These days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when starting a new listing. There are so many suggestions out there for furniture to buy, amenities to offer, and all the other little details that go into a short-term rental. It’s no wonder so many people just throw their hands up in despair and never start at all!

Even on my own site, although I try to keep things simple, I know it can be a lot. I’ve got over a year’s worth of Tuesday Tips alone!

So here’s a super easy suggestion to help you make sure your space has everything it needs.

Stay a few days in it.

Every space is going to be different. Rather than trying to make an exhaustive list of everything your guests might possibly need based on intuition alone, it’s much easier to simply experience your space just the same way your guests would. Do what they would do. Cook dinner. Use the shower. Sleep. Watch TV. 

As you go throughout your normal activities, make a list of things that are missing. Did you get out of the shower and realize the bathroom needs a bath mat? Add that to the list. Trying to make a pizza and realize you don’t have a baking sheet? On the list it goes. Are the bed pillows lumpy? You guessed it…put new pillows on the list. 

It’s sad to me how many hosts never take the time to do something so fundamental (and easy!). How will you know what your space needs without having experienced it?

The short answer is that you won’t. 

You can guess at it. You can add things when guests request them. But by then they’ve already had a less than stellar experience. Just take the time to do your research – real, practical, hands-on research – ahead of time, and you’ll be able to quickly elevate your space from good to amazing!

Tuesday Tip: Temperature control

 

 

Today’s tip piggybacks well off of a story I recently told on the blog

As a host, please make sure you give guests the ability to adequately regulate their temperature! Providing blankets, fans, space heaters, etc. goes a long way towards someone enjoying (or not enjoying) their stay. 

No one wants to be uncomfortable in their own house – even if it’s their house for only a few days. So do your best to make sure that your guests can keep themselves warm in the winter and cool in the summer. 

Happy hosting!

Christmas gift ideas for guests and clients

Can you believe that Christmas is less than 2 weeks away? Where has 2018 gone??

Many companies give their employees gifts or bonuses around Christmastime. I think that should also happen in the short term rental industry. 

You don’t have to go crazy. But if you have a guest in your space during or near Christmas, consider getting them a little gift just to let them know you’re thinking about them. Same thing goes for if you manage properties for other clients. 

Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Give them something unique to you

    If you’re an artsy type, consider making them something that only you could make. I’ve been quilling for many years as a hobby, so I like to give my guests little quilled creations like this or this (it’s all made of paper!). Another friend of mine is an amateur beekeeper, so she gives little jars of honey from her own bees. Get creative! Nothing says “thank you” like a personalized piece of you :).

  • Something they’ve talked about 

    If your guests have mentioned something they’re interested in, consider getting that for them as a gift. For example, we play a lot of games with our guests. Every now and then, one of them really hits it off with one of the games we’ve played. So I’ll often give it to them as a parting gift. Nothing beats a pleasant surprise! 

  • Gift baskets

    If you have a Costco membership, that’s where I’d start for this. They have a huge selection of gift baskets to suit every budget. If you don’t have a Costco membership, most any superstore will have things like these around the holidays. Or, just click on the link for inspiration and make your own!

  • A handwritten card

    If all else fails (or money is tight), consider simply writing a heartfelt note. Letters are so rare these days, they can really make an impression on someone when they get one. 

Do you have any other good suggestions for guest or client gifts this year? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday Tip: Shower hooks

 

 

Last week’s Tuesday Tip featured washable shower curtains. I realized after I wrote it, however, that I left out an important part!

Even after I bought washable shower liners, I was still struggling to take them off and put them back on the hooks. 

Until I discovered double-sided shower hooks. 

With a hook on both sides, these make taking off the liner SO much easier. Simply put the curtain on one side and the liner on the other, and you’ve got easy access to the liner whenever you want.

BONUS:  

Buy a liner with reinforced holes like the one below to keep the holes from ripping. 

Happy hosting!

How to maximize your revenue this holiday season

Well, the holidays are officially upon us. For a lot of people, that means lots of good food and good family time. For others, it’s a stressful time of drama and spending way too much money on Christmas presents. 

For many short term hosts, however, the holidays mean a huge drop in bookings and income. 

Unless you’re in a popular winter destination, you’re likely going to see a drop in bookings in November and December. People simply aren’t traveling as much; or if they are, it’s to stay with friends or family. 

What can you do to maximize your chances of revenue in this slow season?

Here are 5 suggestions to help you get the most out of your space during the holidays. 

  1. Update your listing frequently. 

    Airbnb’s algorithms prioritize listings that have been updated recently, to make sure that guests are seeing spaces that are managed by an active and engaged host. So every other day or so, log onto your Airbnb account and make a couple of small changes – edit the listing title, move around a couple of pictures, change the price by $1, etc. It seems silly, but this really will help your rankings. 

  2. Add a discount in the title

    I recently added *holiday discount* to the front of all of my listings. Although I didn’t actually change the price, I saw a marked increase in inquiries. So much of your listing and description is psychological. People like thinking they’re getting a deal – even if the prices are actually the same as before. So give them what they want and say you’re running a special!

  3. Decorate for the holidays

    If someone is trying to make a decision between two different homes for a Christmas stay, many times decorations will be the deciding factor. When you’re traveling over the holidays, it’s nice to still be able to enjoy a Christmas tree, lights, and the like. So if you’re feeling up to it, consider putting up a few decorations to your listing to add some Christmas cheer. And don’t forget to put a picture of it in your listing so guests know about it!

  4. Offer some extras

    Consider offering some extras that you don’t normally give guests. Some examples are: firewood for the fireplace, breakfast, airport pickup, free public transit passes, etc. These are little extras than can give you an edge over your competition.

  5. Drop your prices

    You’re going to make less money in the slow season. Just accept that. Drop your prices a bit to stay in line with other rentals in your area. It’s better to get a booking at a lower rate than no bookings at all!

What are some suggestions you have to increase bookings over the holidays? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday Tip: Washable liners

 

 

To save money, many people buy cheap plastic shower liners. It’s true that these usually cost significantly less than washable fabric liners; but it may not be the best move for you in the long run.

Over time, everyone’s shower curtain liner starts to get moldy. It’s an unavoidable result in such a wet environment.

If you’ve got a plastic liner, you either have to take it down and scrub the mold off by hand, or you have to throw it away entirely and replace it. This will quickly become either a huge waste of time or money. 

Although they are a little more expensive at first, fabric shower liners quickly pay for themselves. At the first sign of mold, all you have to do is take it off and pop it in the washer with the rest of your whites. So much easier!

Happy hosting!