2019, week 30
Stephanie Leighton from Brisbane, Australia 🇦🇺

This week’s featured host is Stephanie from Brisbane, Australia. She is the host of a historic 1930’s cottage set in sub tropical old world charm gardens and another 2 bedroom B&B with majestic forest views. Let’s hear her story!

So, Stephanie, 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 for 18 months. I host two properties across the road from each other in a delightful quiet no through road called Mantizky road on beautiful Tamborine Mountain, hence the name of my properties. I have worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years so when I found myself in a situation of having two spare bedrooms and being solely responsible for repaying my mortgage and keeping abreast of maintenance of my house, it seemed a good logical decision. I also work as a Receptionist at a wonderful holistic medical practice Tuesday to Thursday also on Mount Tamborine .This allows me the time to run my hosting business Friday to Monday. Plus the Doctor I work for is totally supportive of my hosting role and understands if I want to zip home (2km down the road) to put lights and heaters on if my guests are due to arrive mid week!.

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

I own my own house, Manitzky Magic Home with Heart (B&B) and I have a long term lease on Manitzky Magic Heritage Cottage and offer the cottage for short term stays. My hosting role is just one of my income streams – I am a great believer in not putting your eggs all in one basket!

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

The best part about hosting is that you meet and have the opportunity to communicate with so many people from all walks of life. Guests live with me in my home from anything from 2 days to a week – I really enjoy my role of host to do my very best to make my guests not only feel welcome, but their stay is as enjoyable, comfortable and relaxing as possible. My biggest problems I face – as I am a “one made band” trying to physically do too much – I probably should block more days off on my calendar to rest!

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

I would now say I underestimated all the little things that enhance a guest experience of how much they all cost! Once I started to include these in my guest experience (cake, chocolates, or small cheese platter) my guest would rave about them in their reviews which are published online hence I have to carry on with doing this so other guests are not disappointed when they did not receive the same welcome.

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

If you are in an area that there are already a large number of short term accommodation you will need to create something unique – whether it be a unique facility (spa, large fireplace etc) or service ( catering ) so your property will stand out. – Your guests may only stay a couple of days but if you listen to your guests needs, and ask questions, you can be in a position to really offer a truly memorable experience for your guests. For example I ask my guests what they would like for breakfast before they arrive – I understand everyone is different and if you can provide a breakfast they will enjoy, it will go a long way to a happy overall guest experience. I also offer my guests nibbles on arrival (home made cake or cheese/crackers ) and always a welcome note addressed to them personally. – First impressions when a guest arrives are important. Always offer a warm smile and find out all your guests first names before they arrive. I also ask if my guests are happy to share their reason for coming to Mount Tamborine – you can learn so much from their answers to then offer advice on local services to enhance their stay. Also make sure you have good a good support crew (housekeeper, handyman, Gardner) that you can call on when needed.

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 use a lock box if I am not able to meet my guests but always text them the day before with the code and text them after they have arrived to make sure they are comfortable.

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

My bookings come from two booking channels predominately – I may consider another channel further down the track.

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

I believe if your guests have a good experience and you receive great reviews , in time you will receive repeat business. It takes time to build a reputation I believe.

You can find out more about Stephanie’s properties here:

Manitzky Magic -B&B Home with Heart

Manitzky Magic-Heritage Cottage-Wildlife Sanctuary

And here are a few photos to get you drooling (click for larger versions) 🧐

 

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