I’m often struck by the number of hosts that tell me they decline guests on a regular basis. Maybe a guest had zero reviews, hadn’t completed their verifications, or didn’t have a personal profile picture. Perhaps a guest didn’t provide enough info in their first message and made a bad first impression. Far too often hosts will jump to the wrong conclusions about guests, solely due to a lack of information.
For me, I take a different approach. I educate my guests. What does that mean? It means I try to go to extra lengths to communicate with a guest who may not be familiar with how the process works. When someone messages me a one-liner “I’d like to book your place”, I put on my sales cap and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Similar to other hosts, I look at important factors when deciding to book a guest (reviews, verifications, profile pic, date joined, etc.) However, I take it one step further. I start with the premise that this type of guest is most likely a good fit for my place, I just need to find out more. I will ask a series of questions, and educate them in the process.
I received this message a couple of months ago…
“I want to book your place for three nights.”
That’s all the guest wrote. She had no reviews, a bunch of flowers for a profile pic and only an e-mail and phone number verified on the platform. I responded as follows:
“Hi Caitlin – Thanks for your message. I see that you’re new to the platform. Welcome! Once you start using the site, I know you’ll love it. Since you’re new, I wanted to inform you of a few things to help with your booking.
Firstly, it’s important to post a recent picture of yourself. It helps build trust when communicating with hosts. As well, please take the time to complete your verifications. This signals to hosts that all is in good standing with your account.
Do you mind if I ask you a few questions regarding your stay? It’s very common to develop a rapport with guests prior to booking to ensure there is a good fit. Feel free to ask me any questions as well! Thank you!”
Caitlin responded to me a short time after…
“Kevin, thank you so much for your information. I contacted several hosts and was declined by all of them – I didn’t know what I was doing wrong! I now understand the process. I’ve updated my picture and completed the remainder of my verifications. Feel free to ask me any questions. I look forward to staying in your amazing home. Thanks again!”
Caitlin ultimately booked with me and turned out to be a genuinely amazing guest! I left her a great review and she did the same. I’m glad I didn’t decline her at the onset! I don’t penalize guests who are new to the platform. I embrace them! We were all new hosts at one time. Educate your guests and see your profits grow!