Archives April 2020

What are you doing to stay mentally healthy right now?

I just started my 7th week of social distancing / home quarantine. It’s been brutal. It’s likely that you’re in a similar boat.

The last few months have been unlike anything we’ve experienced in recent memory. As the world continues to grind to a halt, many people are starting to become less concerned about physical health and more concerned about mental health.

Of course physical safety is also still important, especially for the millions of elderly and immunocompromised people out there. But we cannot focus on that and completely ignore the mental health aspect of it, which is just as important.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling myself slowly going crazy. The lack of physical interactions with people, the added stress with work that COVID-19 is wreaking on my industry (as well as so many others), the pervasive sameness of every day…it’s all piling up and over time becoming more than I can take.

I know I am not alone.

Over and over again, people I speak with are mentioning similar challenges. We are simply not made to live in isolation, and months on end of pervasive, global isolation is taking its toll on all of us.

So I want to challenge you, in these difficult days, to think of what you can do to keep your spirits high. Go for walks when the weather is nice. Turn off video on your next call if you’ve got Zoom fatigue. Do a puzzle. Garden.

But you also don’t have to stay home if you’re dying to get out. Go strawberry picking. Take your hammock to a local park. Go for a drive. Do what you need to to keep yourself sane and not only physically healthy, but mentally healthy.

And if you want a bit of an extra bonus, try injecting some creativity into your activities! Over the last few weeks I’ve done things like made a pie blindfolded, recreated famous paintings with things from my house, pranked my houseguests, and more. It’s been so much fun seeing what I can come up with, and I feel so much better for it!

At the same time…if you’re feeling blue and don’t want to do anything, give yourself permission to not be productive. Feel the sadness. It’s ok to be down. Just don’t stay there.

P.S. Want some help with learning how to not only survive, but thrive in these challenging times? Sign for a FREE webinar I’m hosting this Thursday here!

When the customer is not always right

You know the old saying, the customer is always right?

I’m a firm believer that that is not always true. In fact, sometimes it’s patently false. 

Case in point. 

I had a guest check in last week. Arrived without any problems, everything seemed hunky-dory. 

Then I get a text from him asking to raise the heat. Ok, no problem, he could have done it himself, but I also have remote access, so I raise it to 76 for him. 

A few minutes later he messages again. “Can you turn it up to 85?” 

“Are you sure?” I asked him. “85 is really hot.” He insisted that he was sure. So I raised it to 85. 

About an hour later, I got another message from him. “We’re still cold,” he said. “Can you raise it to 92?”

Are you kidding me?? No one in their right minds needs the thermostat set to 92 degrees. Something about this was starting to sound really weird to me. So I politely told him that, unfortunately, we were already outside the window we normally allow guests to set the temperature, so I wouldn’t be raising the central heat any more. However, if he was still cold we had plenty of blankets and space heaters he could use. 

Then I went to sleep. Around midnight I got another text from him. “Hey it’s really hot. Could you lower the temperature?” 

Well, gee. No surprise there. What did you expect when you wanted the temperature to be in the nineties?? 

This story illustrates an important aspect of hosting in my mind. 

Customer service is, of course, a critically important aspect of this business. But good customer service doesn’t always mean kowtowing to a guest’s every whim.

Sometimes people don’t know what they want until you show it to them. And sometimes what they think they want isn’t really what they want. 

As the professional, it’s your job to draw the line on what’s acceptable and what isn’t acceptable with your guests. It’s your job to decide what requests you will accept and what you will deny. And if you decide to accept the request, it’s your job to do it with a good attitude. If you didn’t want to do it you should not have said yes. I’m so tired of hosts saying yes to a nitpicky guest’s every whim and then complaining about it online! 

Remember that you are the businessperson here. You get to decide what’s ok and what’s not ok. And once you’ve decided, stick with it. Don’t let someone bully you into doing something you don’t want to do. You may find out, in the end, it wasn’t actually what they wanted, either ;).

How to increase your Airbnb listing search rankings

If you’ve been hosting for any amount of time, you know that the only thing that really matters at the end of the day is your search ranking. 

Your search ranking is going to affect your bookings in a major way.

If you consistently show up on the first page of Airbnb search results, you’re going to be consistently booked. If you’re buried in the back, you won’t be. It’s that simple. 

There are all sorts of tips and tricks out there about how to increase your search rankings. Change your prices daily. Make 1-day price much lower than the rest. Professional photos. Bullet point descriptions in the listings. Mentioning local hot spots by name. Respond to inquiries ASAP. Get and maintain superhost status.

These are all good and important things to maintaining your listing in good standing. But if you’ve already dropped lower than you want to be, they’re not going to pull you back up to the top of the listings. 

There is, however, something I’ve found that consistently does do that. 

Paid advertising. 

Doesn’t have to be a lot of money. In fact, it really shouldn’t be too much money – just a dollar or two a day. Any more than that and you’ll screw up the algorithms. But it’s really incredible how just a few dollars every month can help improve your listing ranking. 

Now, of course, there’s a bit of science to this. You can’t just throw money at it and hope it’ll stick. You need to either figure out how to do it properly or hire someone who already knows. (And let’s be real, we both know you don’t have the time to figure it out yourself). 

That’s where my friend Renee comes in. 

Renee is the founder of Bnb The Smart Way, a company that specializes in marketing Airbnbs and increasing search ranking results for existing listings. They are incredible at what they do, and truly care about their clients and their success. 

I suppose at this point I should clarify. This is not just my old college buddy’s business I’m trying to get you to buy into. Nothing like that. I was Renee’s client before I was her friend. I hired her to boost some of my listings, and she’s done such a good job that we’ve also become friends over time. 

Anyway, I digress. 

I asked Renee for a discount code for my students and readers, and she happily obliged. 

So head on over to https://www.bnbthesmartway.com/adevaluation to schedule your free evaluation. And use the promo code bnbmadesimple for 10% off her setup costs!