2019, week 37
Dana Steward Buckeye, Arizona, USA 🇺🇸

This week let’s meet Dana a host from Buckeye, Arizona, USA.

She is renting a beautiful cottage and she has some pretty good tips to share with you! Let’s meet her 🤩

So, Dana, tell us, how long have you been hosting for? How and why did you start? How many properties do you manage?

We have been hosting for 4 years. When we moved to the Valley, we had originally intended to build a 4+ bedroom house to accommodate our visiting children who live far away. Adding a second story to our design sent the building costs through the roof (so to speak), so we had to rethink our plans. Our younger daughter, a marketing director for Sotheby’s International Realty, suggested that we make better use of our building funds by creating a rental cottage nestled in our lavender field. Thus, when she or her sister are away, we can rent the cottage for income rather than spending that cash on expensive construction. This has been a delightfully fulfilling proposition!

Are you an owner or a manager? Is this a part time or full time occupation for you?

We own and manage our property full time while managing the lavender business also located on the property.

What is the best thing about hosting, and what are the biggest problems you face?

The most delightful surprise in hosting has been the amazingly gracious and interesting people who have visited. Not one has been a problem, and many would be delightful friends if they lived closer. We have had quite a few back for second and third visits even in the short time since we have made the cottage available. The biggest challenge is having to decline a reservation because we were already booked. We hate to disappoint anyone, especially if they are celebrating a special occasion.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started hosting?

When we first started hosting, we encountered a little trouble with people trying to book outside of our host sites, offering to pay cash as they were “out of the country.” Discerning real vacationers from scammers was a bit of a learning curve. Interestingly, once we learned the clues to watch for, these individuals have stopped applying for stays with us.

What is the most important advise/tip you would give someone interested in becoming a short term rental host?

Our biggest piece of advice is to have all your details clearly spelled out so that no one is surprised or disappointed. For example, we are simply not equipped for large groups or for animals. People need to be aware before they get their hopes up if their needs don’t align with ours.

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?

We run a very simple program. Although we have most of the creature comforts guests would expect like wifi and cable TV, the best tool we employ is keypad/ coded entry. This allows for complete privacy if the guests so desire. If they just want a romantic getaway with no involvement from the hosts, they can enter/ exit and spend their whole visit without ever making contact with another human.

Which channels do you list on? How much has your revenue increased since listing on multiple channels?

We list only on HomeAway/VRBO and AirBNB. As we have only been with the latter for about a month, we’ve not seen that much increase in bookings.

Besides listing on multiple channels, what other things can a host do to increase his/her bookings and revenue?

We have only this month begun advertising our cottage through Instagram posts linked to our Lavande business. The idea is that people interested in lavender products might also be interested in vacationing in a lavender farm. Honestly, we have had to do very little advertising since we live in such a beautiful area for wine-tasting and exploring, and due to the increased restrictions on short term rentals resulting in less availability in our area.

You can find out more about Dana’s property here:

Here are some photos to give you a better vision of Dana’s cottage (click for larger versions) 🧐

 

 

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