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Do Guests Effect How You Live: Decorating for the Holidays?
How do guests effect your behavior? More-so, who decorates their house with guests in mind? This may seem like a weirdly timed post, but the 4th of July is soon approaching and I have streamers on the brain! Being someone who loves any reason to celebrate and put out festive decorations; combined with picnics with friends, bbq smells, cold drinks and crocque... I'm a sucker for Independence Day. I've been wondering about how my decorations are viewed by guests, but don't worry-- I'm including Christmas, New Years, Chinese New Years as well.
I completely understand there are religions, in which holidays are not celebrated, or that some decorations can be highly offensive. I'm not referring to these items. Picture a cute bunny for Easter, red good luck charms for Chinese New Years and a tree for Christmas-- all very generic and Hallmark.
Although I'm wondering if they are enjoyed by my quests.
What have you found?
Also, if you found out a group was celebrating a birthday during their stay, would you do something special? Would you have candles, birthday hats and a sign on hand?
I used to have a lovely birthday banner that I kept just for this reason! But I never used it for a guest, so it got tossed-- I was slightly disappointed. Admittedly I was also a fledgling host, new to Airbnb, and wanted to go the extra mile for my guests.
My thought behind all this rambling, is wanting to make my guest's stay something special and memorable. I love the feeling of visiting somewhere new and seeing a little extra festive cheer. I don't consider myself a burnt out host, but I do wish to be conscience of making the most of my time and efforts.
Also a cornerstone of Airbnb is for guests to be immersed into the local culture and to live like a local, even for a short time. I think it's a fun way for a guest-- especially if they are from another country-- to see how a holiday is celebrated. It's such a unique experience that not many people take advantage of.
In the past I've always sent my guests a quick email before they arrive, asking if they minded a few decorations for the upcoming holiday; always keeping my fingers crossed that my next guest group would not be against festive decorations. Fortunately, I've never had someone respond with a negative answer.
A part of me worries about insulting someone or misrepresenting my space. There is the voice in the back of my head saying, "this is not what the photos on my Airbnb listing look like, this is not what they paid for." I feel all the tinsel and streamers are extra. A little extra hosting love.
I realize the main point I'm circling is: how should being an Airbnb host effect your life? Bam!
For some hosts, the soul purpose of their space is for renting out, while others live and share a space with their guests. I'm certainly not saying one is better than the other. But if you are sharing your space periodically with paying guests, how do you modify your actions? Do you decorate as wildly as you really want for Halloween?
I feel another factor is how often you rent your space. With Airbnb you are able to control how often and to whom you rent to. That's exceptionally nifty, but do you treat your space differently if you have a new guest in your spare room every three nights as opposed to a guest group once a month? I certainly do.
I have found, I do modify my actions a great deal. I often think, "How would this appear to guests just arriving to my house?" "Does it come across the way I want?" The big question I ask, "Does it make my space feel more luxurious and comfortable?" I have settled upon, seeing my bathrobed, bed-head self lumbering through the hallway is not something a guest wants to see first thing in the morning.
A perfect example happened this past Christmas. It was our first Christmas together, so we were creating non-traditional traditions left and right, because we didn't really have any together. As I said before I love decorating for holidays, my partner does as well. So we decided to create a sequin Christmas tree and decorations. Admittedly it was a bit tacky! But we ended up taking down the tree the day after because we had a group coming for New Years. We enjoyed it while it was up, but I felt it took away from the space.
Do you act differently? I certainly keep my space clearer-- please don't judge. I would certainly consider that a benefit! I always have more than enough toilet paper on hand and additional new sponges. I also don't walk around in my bathrobe when we have guests.
I also feel differently while I have guests sharing our space. More often than not we rent the whole house and we go on a mini vacation: so we have a very different interaction than if we are staying in bedrooms next to eachother. I feel like I need to be on my best-est best behavior and not act grumpy before my first cup of coffee (which is sometimes a challenge.)
It sounds as if I an only focusing on the negative aspects of hosting, but there are so many ways the experience is enriching. Not for just the guest, but the host as well! Not only do I get the chance to interact with people from all over the world, and welcome them into my home, I'm making money. Sometimes it's less, sometimes it's more.
It's been an absolutely interesting and fun adventure, that comes with a learning curve. As a host, I needed to learn how to live my life comfortably, while still creating a luxurious and welcoming space for guests. I've made silly mistakes and will certainly make more in the furture. Although I'm glad I go all out and decorate for holidays, it's unique and festive!
I would love to know your views?!?!
Ashley Parent is an AirBnB host and instigates the magic at http://blissylife.com. She is having a hard time staying in her seat with the excitement of the upcoming release of her eBook Portable Bed & Breakfast.
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