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Making it personal: How to tailor your offering to different kinds of short-term rental guests

Have you ever felt frustrated over a displeased guest? Couldn’t figure out what would make them walk away in a 5-star review state of mind? The answer may be a lot simpler than you think. 

As we know, Airbnb started as a more personal platform, offering “homes away from home,”  and when businesses like yours entered the scene, guests were on the fence about allowing corporations to manage these experiences for them on behalf of property owners. 

Fast forward a few years and guests are now expecting a perfect mesh of the authenticity of the Airbnb experience with the predictability of a hotel, resulting in high demand for management companies with the resources to provide both.

With this opportunity comes great responsibility, and the most important one is understanding your guests so you can effectively market and cater to them. Who are they? What is the purpose of their visit? What are their expectations? 

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is through some familiar faces that we all know and love.

1) Homer Simpson

The Homer Simpsons of the world are often lazy, greedy, ignorant and affectionate. They travel to different destinations to do what they do back home, but without the responsibilities of everyday life. These guests will often be interested in the basics, like local restaurants and bars, as well as what TV channels you offer.  As mentioned, today’s guests are looking for a blend of professional and personal, and aren’t willing to let go of that appealing local charm that made Airbnb so popular in the first place. 

So, before providing recommendations of “what a local would do,” make sure you truly know the city so you can deliver your tips in a more personalized manner. At the same time, meet your indulgent guests’ more traditional travel expectations by ensuring your properties are fitted with those little ‘something extras,’ like complimentary Netflix or smart home tools that offer an elevated vacation vibe.

2) Marge Simspon 

Marge Simpson type guests are tolerant, loving, problem-solving homemakers with an appreciation for luxury! Their everyday lives are chaotic and leave them with little time for themselves, so if they’re peeling themselves away from their responsibilities for some traveling, they’re going to want to enjoy a little pampering. For this guest, ensure the customer service is top-notch; provide a bottle of champagne upon arrival just because, or leave little touches like bubble bath or face and hair masks. Give them the tools they need to feel like they’re getting the vacation they’ve earned. 

3) Bart Simpson 

Inviting Bart Simpson-esque guests into your properties can be a gamble, as they tend to be a bit reckless. If your properties are in a location like Queenstown, New Zealand, a city that appeals to thrill-seekers, expect to attract these adventurers and accommodate them with recommendations for the best adrenaline rushes in the area. But if your rentals weren’t designed with the snowboarding, mountain climbing, pub-crawling traveler in mind, beware. Rentals – especially mansions and penthouses – have been known to become temporary party venues when their keys fall into the wrong set of hands. To avoid attracting this type of guest, require at least a 3-night minimum stay and utilize an effective guest screening process. 

4) Lisa Simpson

These guests will often enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture, so point them in the direction of the best local museums, exhibits and theatres. Consider leaving them a welcome basket with some locally-brewed wine or locally-sourced chocolate to give them a taste of their destination immediately upon arrival. They’re also sure to appreciate design touches that feature local influence, so showcasing art that they can purchase during their stay would be a great idea. The Lisa Simpson kind of guest is opting for a short-term property over a traditional hotel for a reason – they don’t want to stay in the same room they’d be sleeping in anywhere else in the world. Give them something unique filled with constant reminders that they’ve traveled somewhere new and exciting.

5) Mr. Burns 

If you’re in a popular business-travel destination, ensure you have all the essentials that corporate commuters require, from a workspace equipped with ample power sockets to an iron so they can look their finest at the meetings they’ve come for. High-speed WIFI is also a must. Business travelers need predictability so providing a top-notch experience will probably result in repeat bookings, not only from your previous guests but from their colleagues as well. 

6) Maggie Simpson

For any one of these guests, check in to see if they have  a little Maggie with them (AKA, a baby or toddler). If they do, provide a crib and whatever else young children may need. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the guest in advance to find out how you can best accommodate them. This will make you stand out as a thoughtful and prepared host. 

One Size Doesn’t Fit All 

Short-term rental experiences aren’t one-size-fits-all, which may mean a bit more effort on your part, but it’s also how our industry has emerged as a true contender to the long-established, traditional hotel industry. Learn what you can about your guests before they arrive, and take extra measures to show them you value their comfort and experience. It could be all it takes to get that 5th star in your review and earn a loyal guest for life. 

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