Recently we had a European exchange student stay with us for a while.

During our initial back-and-forth messages, I started getting the vibe that she was nervous about finding her way to our house after landing in Atlanta. So I told her I’d pick her up.

After we connected, we started talking in the car on our way home. She mentioned that this was her first time using Airbnb, which got me excited. I like getting first-timers, giving them a really good first experience with Airbnb. I take it as a challenge to go above and beyond what I usually do.

When I told her that, she smiled. “Well, you’re doing great so far,” she said. “I’m already really happy with my experience.”

Be a friend in a foreign place

I blanched.

But we hadn’t even gotten home yet! She hadn’t seen the space, or any of the amenities, or the surrounding areas, or anything! How could she already be happy with her experience?

Then it came to me.

She knew I cared about her, that I was looking out for her. Picking her up, as small a gesture as it was, was a reassuring sign that I was going to do what I could to give her a good stay.

You see, you don’t have to bend over backward to give people an amazing experience. You just have to care about them as people – and show it in your actions. It could be something like giving someone a ride or showing them the best bus routes nearby. Treat them like you would a friend.

Because everyone appreciates having a friend in a foreign place :).