William Seavey and his wife run an Airbnb from their home in Cambria, California. The apartment has space for three people and is popular with tourists visiting Hearst Castle. But their rental has also become known for the little perks they include, like extra toiletries, breakfast treats stocked in the fridge and special touches you may never expect from a host. Here’s what Seavey has to say about becoming the ultimate Airbnb experience host.
We do some things that are special for people. My wife mostly is involved with that. She provides extra things in the room that people don’t expect to find, like toiletry items, toothbrushes and lotions — a lot more than you’d find in a typical hotel. If they drink, a bottle of wine is also available when they arrive. Otherwise, we have sparkling cider and fresh flowers.
We like to go the extra mile. For special occasions, we put up banners that say “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations on Your Anniversary.” We bring in balloons and make the room look extra-special. My wife likes doing that because it adds an element of fun to our personal business.
People who write reviews, that’s what they point out — these special things they don’t find anywhere else. Plus, we provide a list of recommended local restaurants they can check out. We simply try to make their stay as pleasant as possible.
Oh, absolutely! We have experience with other Airbnbs where we’ve traveled ourselves and found that a lot of the people that do Airbnb don’t really understand the hospitality industry. They’re just trying to rent a house and make a little extra money. We’ve traveled extensively and know what people expect and want. For example, people like counter space in the bathrooms to have room for their items, so we make sure that’s available in our rooms.
The nice thing about Airbnb is that you review your guests, and they review you. It’s reciprocal. When they write reviews they really do point out these little things that differentiate us from other places. They’re impressed to find a homeowner offering that kind of hospitality.
We have a full-sized fridge, and we stock it with scones, muffins, yogurt and milk. As far as hors d’oeuvres, we have nuts and crackers available. We do waffles in the morning, cereal, tea and hot chocolate. If we’re making waffles for ourselves, we bring them down for our guests. People really appreciate that.
If they want to go into this kind of business, they should ask themselves what they would hope for when they travel. It’s putting yourself in the shoes of the traveler, coming off the road, arriving late in the dark, arriving hungry or thirsty. If you consider how your personal touches can elevate their stay, they will thank you.