A Beginner’s Guide to Hosting



From the moment you decide you want to have guests staying at the place you so carefully designed (and invested so many sweat and tears in), until the time you check them in, you really have to love what you’re doing. And why is that?

Shooting our amazing pictures
A Wonderful Nest Shooting session


WHY do you have to LOVE HOSTING to HOST


The time invested is always more than you think. One might think that with a few hours a week dedicated to check-ins and check-outs is enough. If you think this way, you’ll definitely not succeed in having a good occupation rate. Not having that translates to less income which leads to frustration. I’m sure you don’t want that, right?

It’s not as easy as it looks. I’ve seen several listings from other hosts. Many of these listings show that the hosts dedicated too little time to them: careless decor, blurry pictures taken with mobile phones and crappy descriptions. If you want to stand out on today’s very competitive rental market, you have to invest a lot of time into it, starting from your listing!

The tax obligations are a real deal. If your biggest motivation as a Host is making money, you may as well as not even start. With today’s saturated rental market, there’s no way you can avoid tax obligations. And even if you’re as lucky as I was and own the house you’re going to rent, I’m sure you invested a lot of money in getting that house ready to be rented. If you didn’t, then maybe it doesn’t have the careful well thought design it should have in order to stand out. You will make money, for sure. Just not as fast as you think. And the more you pour your heart and soul into your rental, the happier your bank account will get.


TIPS to get you STARTED


Invest on Remodelling the place and Decoration. I’m an architect so it’s only natural that I did the first design for the house. I was still living in Angola by the time I came up with the name for “A Wonderful Nest“. It was also by then that I drew the first drafts of the logo. From the first floor plan I assumed that the house required a medium investment. As such, I set aside some savings for it. As the months passed, I asked for several opinions from my friends and family. These opinions made me alter the original design, and the cost estimation for the construction works doubled. However, it was because of these opinions that the house became what it is today: carefully designed and comfortable to live in. My big investment was totally worth it.


Take Amazing Pictures. I have to confess that taking pictures is one of my passions. Even though I only joined Instagram on 2016 (surprisingly late right?) I have dedicated a huge amount of time to it since then. And I don’t really have that many posts, I just dedicate a lot of time to each post. Of course you don’t have to be a photographer or love photography to have good pictures on your listing. You just have to acknowledge that and hire someone to do it for you. No, you shouldn’t ask your friend who kinda “understands photography”. You should ask a professional photographer. And take your pictures with daylight. And please have all the angles straight, avoid those bloated fish-eye looks that are only going to lie about your space. Assume what you have and do so under perfect lighting.


Be Friendly and Always Available. My mother always said to me – “when you meet someone and smile at them, they will for sure smile back to you”. – Of course there are some exceptions to this statement, but most of the time it has worked for me. Whenever I meet new guests, I show them a big smile and start a friendly conversation, prior to introducing them to the house. And why do I do it? Because I would want the same thing for myself. Who wouldn’t like to have a warm reception when entering a house you’ve never been, in a country that’s not your own? Smile, be warm, be friendly. Also, keep in touch all the time. Every 2-3 days I reach out to my guests to check if everything is going fine, if they need any extras or if they want tips on the area. Some people are shy and, even if they want to ask you for something, they don’t want to take that first step and reach out to you. So, you just reach out to them! Remember, it’s always easier for the host to do it.      


Produce a Guest Book and have a Welcome Basket. If you want to top your competition, you have to go the extra mile. To do that, you should throw in a few extras, such as a Guest Book. You don’t have to be a writer to do so! All you need is some leg work, good pictures and information about the house. Imagine you’re going somewhere on vacation and you don’t know anything about the whereabouts. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little leaflet where you could see where the highlights are? And the transportation system? And a compilation of the best restaurants in the area? You don’t have to repeat the same information over and over again and your guests will love to have your handy compilation to consult at any time. As for your welcome basket, it’s always nice to arrive someplace and have a little wine and a few treats to welcome us, isn’t it? It makes you feel right at home.


If possible, always have a Welcome Basket and a Guest Book!
Our kitchen with the Welcome Basket and the Guest Guide


And that’s it for now! Do you relate to these tips? Let me know in your comments!


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