I had a long conversation once with a man about Airbnb. He had a lot of strong opinions about it.
One of the strongest of his opinions was that Airbnb is a service that primarily appeals to younger people. Older people, he presumed, would prefer to more traditional model of hotels and inns.
As soon as he said this, I instantly thought to one of our best guests ever, a man named Charles. A portly, aging businessman from Sri Lanka, Charles is the antithesis of what you’d expect from an Airbnb guest in almost every way.
In one of our very first conversations with him after his arrival, he surprised us even more.
“Well most of my colleagues are staying at the Ritz Carlton hotel, so of course I could have stayed there if I’d wanted to,” he said matter-of-factly. “But I prefer to be here.”
“Here” at that time was a small, dimly lit apartment that he was sharing with my husband and I.
What?? Who chooses a little unassuming apartment over the Ritz Carlton?? I was flabbergasted.
But Charles had an easy explanation. “I like being around people,” he said simply. “It’s more interesting than being alone in a fancy hotel.”
And indeed, having him with us was exceedingly interesting. We had so much fun with him, and still keep in contact to this days, years later.
Whenever I’m tempted to stereotype my guests, I’m always reminded of Charles. There is always more to your guest than meets the eye. Take care to not make snap judgements of them. You may be missing out on one of your best guests yet.