10 Things We Wish We Knew
About Hosting Before We Started
We've learned a lot since we began hosting. Here are the things we wish we knew right from the beginning!
It will be so worth it.
Setting up our listing (which for us involved spending 9 months building a tiny house), was not easy. It was at times very stressful -- getting all our licenses and permits, making sure we had everything ready to go, etc.
I wish we'd known then that it would change our lives for the better in so many ways, allowing us to be self-employed and primarily "retired" by 30.
Guests will be lovely.
I was so worried that we would have horrible, messy guests, or that I would feel less safe when we were hosting (since our listing is in our backyard).
We've now hosted for 6 years, and our guests have been amazingly and overwhelmingly kind, friendly, neat, and clean. Through social media, we've even kept in touch with some and cherish the connections we've made!
Beginning is only the beginning.
We started hosting in the middle of Nashville's off-season, February 2016. We were pretty quickly able to hit close to 100% occupancy, but it has been wonderful to see our rates and bookings increase every year.
And we're constantly dreaming of ways to improve our listing, to offer guests even more. We love this creative aspect of being hosts. Since starting, we've added a large flagstone patio, tiled the floors with vintage reclaimed tile, and added a large vegetable garden. And we're scheming about where to put a hot tub in the future!
Have extras (of everything!) on hand.
Things happen. Wine glasses will (rarely) get broken. Sugar packets will run low quicker than you anticipated. Sheets will get stained (on occasion). These unforeseeable incidents don't happen often, but it adds so much peace knowing that we have extras of absolutely everything on hand, just in case.
Cleanliness is next to godliness (in hosting).
Who hasn't stayed in a room that was less than spotless? Guests expect (and deserve!) a spotless stay every. single. time. You have to be vigilant!
If you're not up to that level of perfection (some people just don't have the eye for it! Or might get burnt out after 4+ years of doing it themselves), hire a cleaning team. We switched to a cleaning service in 2021 and love it!
Personality is important too.
If guests wanted to stay some place generic, they would stay in a hotel. Most want their Airbnb to have more character and charm than a hotel. That doesn't mean fill your space with tchotchkies or make your space themed, but it should be lovely, and should speak to who you are and where your listing is.
When creating your listing, it is so important to be as honest as possible about what guests can expect during their stay. In our listing, we even mention our neighbor's barky dog and the fact that there's lots of construction happening in Nashville right now -- no one wants to be caught off guard!
Negative reviews will happen.
And they will hurt. Pouring your heart and soul into your listing doesn't mean it will be loved by every single guest who stays. There will be guests who feel hard to please.
It won't always be easy.
Just like any home, your listing can have problems. Your toilet might need a repair, your roof might leak, your refrigerator might act up. And unlike your own house, where you can take your time fixing these things, you'll have to fix anything that pops up asap!(!!) These problems won't pop up often, but they'll be stressful when you do. Have a handyman you can call, or a property manager you trust.
But it will still be so worth it.
I'm saying it twice because it bears repeating. For every negative experience, we've had 100+ positive ones. For every moment where we've questioned if being an Airbnb host is for us, we've had 1000+ moments where we felt so grateful that this gets to be our life.