New offerings in the works
When I opened Holstein House I never thought I would do more with it than an occasional room rental. Who would really want to stay in someone else’s home anyway?
With each new guest I was more excited, and eager to receive the next. I earned eight consecutive “Super Host” awards from Airbnb. I invested my meager earnings back into the guest room, purchasing new pillows, and bed sheets.
I checked in religiously to tweak descriptions, and rates. I read that the algorithm reacted to every change and would “see” that as activity, increasing the potential to be listed higher in searches. Whether or not those things were true I stuck to the routine. Then December 2019 came, and, well, yeah.
People like me, sharing just a room or two exclusively through Airbnb, are not well received by the traditional bed and breakfast hosts. They see us as a threat, a cheap knock-off, undermining the years of effort they spent in developing their market, and securing return guests.
They have a point.
I spend time in the Airbnb Community Forum. On the host side, I see the transition away from the home-share model the company was founded on to the absentee host with multiple units spreading like a virus in kindergarten.
Guests book the cheap room, check themselves in with keyless entry, spend their entire stay without ever meeting the host, and are cleaned-up after by a third-party housekeeping company. The neighbors have no idea who is staying next door, may never meet the owner, and worry about their safety.
On the traveler’s side of the forum, I read the terrible stories of arriving at a property to discover it was a sham. The listing was a fraud, composed of images stolen from legitimate businesses, the funds were collected, the property is dilapidated, rodent or insect infested, in a bad neighborhood, and simply dangerous.
I may never completely disconnect from Airbnb, they can be a source of last minute bookings, and face it, young people are using it and they need a place to stay. I am, however, working to move the majority of my guests to direct booking. One way I am going to do that is with some new offerings.
To start with, using Airbnb to book the guest room is now more expensive. Since Airbnb charges the guest a fee, AND they charge the host a fee (which is passed to the guest through the room rate) my direct book guests will save more than the total of those fees combined. Direct book guests will also have the benefit of special offerings, and advanced notice of deals.
Direct book guests are eligible for new breakfast menu items. This weekend I started working on mini-quiche, and virgin mimosas. I need to make them perfectly before offering for the Mother’s Day season.
In the planning is also a covered platform for the back yard. I am working on three elopement packages. The specifics are still being developed, but the idea is to offer quick and legal ceremonies with or without a night stay, and potentially a small reception for no more than 10, the bride and groom and 8 guests. I am legally registered in West Virginia as a wedding officiant which helps reduce the cost to the happy, if hurried, couple.
Right now I am offering a special discount. We are entering my birthday week and I am offering you 10% off the room rate if you enter the promo code BD10 when you reserve your room. It is only good till the end of the month, though.
Please share this with friends and family who might consider staying when the visit from out-of-state.
One last thing!
I do not have posts in each of the sections just yet, but I do have three more topics you might like to subscribe to. They are:
I hope to post useful thoughts in each of the topics, worthy of discussion. You won’t be auto-subscribed to them so you will either have to purposely look for the new stuff or you’ll need to subscribe. And still, as of now there is no subscription fee.