I recently got an email from an Airbnb agent closing a thread we’d had going back and forth for a few days. Her message said simply, “Thank you for your response. I really appreciate you being so kind.”

This one hit me right in the gut. I kinda felt like I’d been sucker-punched.

Because the thing is, I had not been “so kind.” I hadn’t even been marginally kind. This was one of these interactions that I can’t say I was particularly proud of how I’d handled.

That’s why her message hit me so hard. Even though I had been rude and reacted in the heat of the moment, she continued to be kind. And isn’t that the definition of the hospitality industry?

As hosts, that’s what we need to do with our guests every day. Be kind…period.

It’s easy to assume they’re just trying to be rude, but that’s rarely if ever the case. Most likely, they’re having a bad day, like I was. Or dealing with even more serious issues. Either way, it’s our job, our responsibility, to be kind.

(We should do that with everyone we interact with, of course, but sometimes we’re going to blow it like I did with the Airbnb rep)

How to make this “the year of kindness”

This is the start of a new year. A perfect time for new beginnings. If this is something you’ve struggled with in the past – whether it be with guests, friends and family, strangers, or all of the above – I encourage you to make 2022 the year you turn over a new leaf.

Give yourself grace, of course, because you will mess up…but make this the year you focus on giving people the benefit of the doubt. Be intentional about treating everyone with whom you interact, with:

  • grace,
  • dignity, and
  • kindness

Regardless of whether or not you feel they deserve it.

Make this year your “year of kindness!”