What we learned from our first guests

Today we cleaned the house after a guest for the first time.   Because we booked back to back with a guest checking out at noon and another checking in at 3pm we only had 3 hours to clean.  This was a bit stressful thought we got through it just fine.  The guests that checked out were nice and left the house relatively clean.  However, there was a couple extra things we had to address.  The new washer and dryer needed a stack kit, I needed to adjust one of the gate sensors, and we wanted to install a key lockbox on the house.  That last one is because our first guests managed to lock the door handle on the front door and there was no key down there for it.  This way if a guest does this we can tell them how to get into that lockbox and they can get back into the house.  We also put a key in there for the deadbolt in case somehow the electronic parts of it fail.  One thing this made us realize is that doing this on a weekday could be really difficult and if a guest leaves the house really dirty or something breaks of no fault of our guest there would be no way for us to fix it before the other guest can check in.  As a result we enabled a feature on Airbnb that blocks off the day before and after each reservation to allow us to clean the place easier and fix things if need be.  I’m a little sad about this because it will mean we make less money but it will probably make our lives less stressful.

The second thing that our first guests taught us was that our automated messaging from Smartbnb is too spamy and they don’t read it, that is because it sounds automated.  Also, if they don’t have the airbnb app it texts them the first little bit of the message and they probably just ignore the rest as it would show up in their email.  We are going to have to find some way to shorten these messages or get them to read all of them in their email if they don’t have the app.

Also, they were awesome and left a couple pins in our map:

Here is a link so you can check out the listing: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/19534111

We keep changing the title of our listing, here are a few of the ones we’ve tried:

  • The Hideaway — quiet/comfortable/private
  • Designer Renovated Secluded Adventure Hideaway
  • Modern Updated Hideaway w/ Patio and Firepit
  • The Hideaway: Whole Home w/ Private Patio, Firepit

Custom Emergency Contact Card for our AirBnB

I wanted unique signs for our AirBnB so I used Photoshop to create these.  They are very simple but look great on the fridge at our place.  Here they are.  There is an emergency contact card, quick reference to where to find the fire extinguisher and first aid kit, wifi login, and lastly our house rules.

 

A blur of excitement and preparation

The first few days on Airbnb have been a blur.  We listed on Sunday evening and are already booked through the end of October.  The next real challenge will be on Sunday when we have our first guests checking out at noon and our next guests checking in at 3.  On Monday we got our first booking, Thursday through Sunday and our first “Verification Pending” booking for the next couple weeks.  That booking fell through and we got a second booking on Tuesday almost as soon as the pending one went away for Sunday through Friday.  Then we got a couple of booking inquiries for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The one for thanksgiving found a larger place that’d work better for their family.  They wanted some place with multiple bathrooms as that made it easier “traveling with girls”.  The one for Christmas asked if we would be ok with two well trained rotties and I responded saying that rotties are awesome and they are welcome to book the place.  When I do that it starts a 24 hour counter.  After 24 hours they had not booked it and the pre-approval expired.  They messaged saying that they are trying to coordinate with 4 people and will give us an answer by the end of the week.  In response I sent them a special offer to book the place at the rate in the first pre-approval.  I did this because we increased our cleaning fee form $40 to $75 realizing that resetting the place after people stay there with pets and children is going to be a lot of work.  Then we got a booking for 25 days starting on Friday.  This time with a picture and a verified account.  I believe it is the same person as before as the first name for both accounts is the same.   In short this week has been crazy already and we are super excited.

The crazyness hasn’t just been the booking though, we’ve been doing a bunch of work up to the last minute to prepare for the first guest.  Beth took Tuesday off work and did an amazing job cleaning up the yard.  I came over after work and we spent a couple hours cleaning and then while we doing a home depot run for some mulch for the planters we realized that our guests that are staying for a while will probably want to use the washer and dryer.  And while we lived there for the last 4 years and used that set to do laundry we realized guests probably wouldn’t appreciate how poorly the dryer works.  For one it just doesn’t work that well at drying clothes so you have to run it for a very long time and be careful to not overfill it.  The second thing is that it causes a ton of humidity in the house when it is running resulting in that humidity condensing on the walls in the bathroom and hallway and causing those walls to become grimy.  As a result we hopped on craigslist and looked for a new set.  We found a couple we liked and sent out emails asking if we could buy them either that night or the next day.  One that we really liked responded saying we could get it that night so we went and bought it.  It took till 1:30 am before we finally got home, but now the house has a new washer and dryer that the guests won’t have to fight.  Also, we are super stoked about the fact that this dryer uses a condenser to remove moisture and has a drain output.  On the next day Wednesday we finished up cleaning and setting the house up for the first guests after we got off work.  This morning I sent our guest a message letting them know the house is ready and they can check in when ever they want today.  Now we just have to sit back and wait for any messages from our guests and new booking requests.

Here is a picture of the new (to us) washer and dryer we installed:

Once again, here is a link to the listing for all the details on it: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/19534111

Here we go!

Last night we listed our first property on AirBnB.  This was really exciting and we were holding our expectations in check.  For pricing we are using wheelhouse and it recommended a base price of $155.  We thought this sounded high as we are just getting started and have no reviews so we set it at $124.  When we woke up this morning we had couple real surprises.  The first day we set to be available was Thursday and  someone had booked our place for Thursday through Sunday.  For messaging we are using smartbnb.io and in less than a minute of them booking the place it had sent them a message thanking them for booking the place.  They responded thanking us for responding so quickly.  So far we are off to a great start.  We decided that maybe we should block off Monday as this is our first booking and we want to make sure we can clean the place before anyone else books it.  I log onto airbnb to do this and discover that someone has booked Sunday Oct 1st through Oct 15th.  However instead the status shows Pending Verification.  Looking this up it means that they have about a day to finish their reservation and confirm their info.  We are really excited about this whole process and the fact that we’ve seen such immediate success at getting a couple bookings.  After that I blocked off Monday Oct 16th to make sure we can clean the place before anyone else shows up.  There are still a few small things we need to button up here before we are ready for Thursday.