This week let’s meet Kristiina 😊
Kristiina lives in Leavenworth, WA, and rents two properties there. She and her husband have been hosting since October 2019. Kristiina and her family enjoy spontaneous adventures and they took several ones using Airbnb. Learning a lot from their adventures they decided to become hosts on their own. They are super hosts and Kristiina manages 6 properties overall.
Let’s hear her story! 🔊
So, Kristiina tell us, how long have you been hosting for? How and why did you start? How many properties do you manage?
My husband and I have been hosting our rentals since October 2019. We started immediately after moving to Leavenworth, WA which is one of the most beautiful tourist towns in the United States with millions of guests visiting Leavenworth every year. We are a quaint Bavarian town surrounded by mountains. There’s nothing quite like it! After moving to Leavenworth, I picked up a few other properties to manage so I am currently on my own, manage 6 properties with 2 more on the way!
Are you an owner or a manager? Is this a part-time or full-time occupation for you?
I am both an Owner and a Manager of all of the properties I take care of. Managing these properties is my full-time job.
What is the best thing about hosting, and what are the biggest problems you face?
The best things about hosting are the fact that I get to “take care of” people. I have a gift of hospitality and service and so knowing that I get to make our guest’s time with us extra special help me to feel that we’ve done our job in helping our guests to create many memories by staying with us.
The biggest problems I face are with guests that feel entitled. I take it very personally when they don’t take care of our rentals or they try to hide damages which we end up having to pay for. Also, I tend to bend over backward for all of our guests and when the guests feel that I haven’t bent over far enough, unfortunately, I take it personally because I care too much. I’m trying to learn to not take things so personally, but when you really care about what you do and care about other people and their time with us, it’s hard.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started hosting?
I wish I knew that I needed stronger skin. I have such an empathetic heart and feel it when the guests are having a great time, but also feel it, even more, when they’re frustrated. Most times they’re frustrated because of something very small that can not be changed (like they can’t use the fireplace because there’s a burn ban in effect), but it still affects me and I do reach out to see if there’s anything extra special I can do to relieve their frustration. I’d much prefer that I could take their frustration with a grain of salt and know that I can not make everything perfect for them in circumstances where things are out of my control.
What is the most important advice/tip you would give someone interested in becoming a short-term rental host?
Toughen up your skin and there is no way that you can make everyone happy. Some guests are just created to always be in a bad mood no matter what (I’m dealing with one right now). But that’s how they are and there’s nothing I can do to change them. So if you come across someone like this, know that it’s not you (especially if you’re consistently getting 5 Star reviews and then there’s one person that turns your day sour because of their attitude). Take a deep breath, lean on all of your 5 Star reviews and let that guest just be. It’s not you… it’s them.
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?
I wish there was an app that did everything I need it to do so that I didn’t have to keep changing between them, but there’s something I like about each one that I have not found combined into one app online. I use Turnoverbnb for letting my housekeepers know when they’re cleaning next. I use Hosttools for my automatic responders for Vrbo because Vrbo doesn’t provide timed/automatic replies. I use TimeTree so that the housekeepers and maintenance can look ahead on their schedules and also block out dates they can not work.
Which channels do you list on? How much has your revenue increased since listing on multiple channels?
We list on Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com and Hipcamp.com.
Booking.com used to be hard to maintain and manage, but the only reason we connect to them now is because Syncbnb does all the work for me. As soon as we set up on Booking.com with Syncbnb, we immediately got 2 bookings within the first week. Hipcamp is a unique site to host on as well. We have our Glamping Barn listed there.
Besides listing on multiple channels, what other things can a host do to increase his/her bookings and revenue?
We have Facebook pages for all of our listings and I go into town often and take pictures of the festivals, events, the carriage rides, the weather… and I post them on Facebook to get the interest of the travelers. And keep talking about your rentals. Make sure to post them on your personal Facebook pages too. Ask your friends to post about them on their Facebook pages. Maybe even offer an incentive to friends to share your links.
You can find out more about Kristiina’s properties here:
Direct Booking Website
Here are some photos to give you a better vision of Kristiina’s properties (click for larger versions) 🧐