This week let’s meet Azaima, a host from Silver City, New Mexico, USA. Azaima is a multi-talented performing songwriter and healing artist, devoted to the transformation of herself and others.
She is renting a beautiful property and she has some pretty good tips to share with you!
Let’s meet her 🤩
So, Azaima, tell us, how long have you been hosting for? How and why did you start? How many properties do you manage?
I have been hosting since 2013. I had just gotten divorced and didn’t need the whole house to myself. I started listing one unit with Airbnb, then two, then three, learning over time what worked and what guests needed. The house has three rental units under the same roof, but I also list various combinations of those three, for five properties in total.
Are you an owner or a manager? Is this a part-time or full-time occupation for you?
I’m the owner and manager, and I live there too. It’s pretty much full time
What is the best thing about hosting, and what are the biggest problems you face?
The best thing is getting to know wonderful people I’d never have met otherwise. In addition to renting the property, I offer healing work to my guests. I’m an astrologer, yoga teacher, retreat guide, interfaith minister, and shamanic practitioner. I offer these services in addition to some emotional/mental clearing techniques. I love really getting to know the guests who choose to work with me in this way.
And, of course, the rental income helps me keep the place in good shape and cleaner than it would be if I didn’t share it with others.
The biggest problems are generally labor — getting the needed help in time to address things like the tv not working as it should, or a plumbing emergency or the cleaning people come too late to finish in time.
My place is not as soundproofed as I’d like, so I need to tell guests as politely as possible not to talk loudly enough to disturb the guests in the other units.
I offer guests the use of the hot tub, and though I ask them to shower before using it, that doesn’t always happen. The hot tub needs a lot of maintenance. I don’t want to nag the guests to remove all oils and moisturizers before they get in, but I have to spend hours cleaning it when they don’t.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started hosting?
It’s a full-time job. There’s always more to do to enhance the guest experience. I used to try to get the housework over with so I could write a song, or promote a healing workshop. Now I see that the house is my priority and the other things I do are fun when I have time.
What is the most important advice/tip you would give someone interested in becoming a short-term rental host?
The customer is always right. Reviews can make or break your business, so treat every guest like a beloved friend. You can learn from each guest. If they want something, chances are other guests will want it too. I have feedback sheets in the guest rooms where I ask people what they liked and what improvements they’d suggest. Partly I do this to ward off bad reviews. If they can tell me what they didn’t like, perhaps they’ll see less need to complain publicly on the website.
Still, you can’t please everyone. For example, some think a bed is perfect, and someone else thinks it’s too hard, and someone else thinks the same bed is too soft. At some point, you have to make a decision.
When you get a bad review, you have the option of responding on the website, but you need to be diplomatic, even if the guest was totally unreasonable. Otherwise, you might come off sounding even more unreasonable, which could deter potential guests.
Besides Syncbnb, are there any tools, devices, or software (eg. Remote keylocks, cameras, local guide apps, power meters, etc) you use? What is your experience with them?
Which channels do you list on?
Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, Travelocity, Glamping Hub.
How much has your revenue increased since listing on multiple channels?
Besides listing on multiple channels, what other things can a host do to increase his/her bookings and revenue?
Word of mouth builds over time, as do repeat visitors. I joined the local chamber of commerce, so local businesses would know about my place. When people write the chamber asking where to stay, the chamber sends them my brochure.
I put brochures in the local visitor’s center, and I let local realtors know about it, too, since house hunters need a place to stay.
When my friends with smaller places have out-of-town visitors, they are likely to recommend my place to them.
You can find out more about Azaima’s property here:
- Heart and Wings Retreat Center
- Heart and Wings Retreat Center
- Direct Booking Website
Here are some photos to give you a better vision of Azaima’s house (click for larger versions) 🧐