Before the pandemic, Ms. Zima mainly served business travelers. But anything is possible with business travel. In a seven-bedroom shared apartment she managed, a guest, a middle-aged man, decided to wander around in a Speedo and then tried to get back to the hostel after his stay was over. "Seriously, almost anything can happen," she says.
Ms. Zima added that many guests expect white-gloved service. If someone finds stray hair in the bathroom, get ready. "People can't handle finding a hair," she said. “You'd think that hair is super toxic or contagious. Hair is a problem that nobody really thinks about. "
Guests also come in search of an experience. Think of tree houses, yurts, houseboats. New hosts need to be ready to move up. "You have Instagram. You have HGTV shows. People want that dream," said Evelyn Badia, who has been Airbnb host since 2010 and now runs The Hosting Journey, a website, YouTube channel and podcast to host "They don't have it in their homes, do they? But they want to come into a home and be amazed."
Of course, some newcomers have a natural knack for the hospitality industry. In June 2020, Jeff Dickerson and his wife Tracie Howard Dickerson listed the two bedroom tree house that Mr. Dickerson built himself outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The tree house, which is behind her house and borders a 2,500 hectare nature reserve, has been booking almost constantly since then.
"We initially thought we might have people on the weekends who want to get out and hike and explore," said Ms. Dickerson, a novelist. "Every available appointment is booked this month and next."
The couple hired a property manager to manage the offerings, but Ms. Dickerson is all about the flourishes, leaving bottles of wine and personal notes for guests. Last winter she wanted to make the room cozier, so she bought a pair of fluffy socks, rolled them up, and displayed them in a basket in the living room.
"I thought it was crazy," said Mr. Dickerson, a communications consultant. “A basket with fluffy socks? "Really?" Do we need to get a basket of fluffy socks now? And then came the reviews. "
The socks were a hit. After that, he knew better than to doubt his wife's instincts.
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