Log on and discover a huge form. Should I fill it with lies to entice people in? Or maybe truths? People get upset if you lie and take their money. This is worse than a tax return.
Deal with Imposter Syndrome
Look at other properties to work out how they filled in their forms. Admire tasteful furnishings, craftily angled photos, and curtains that really say something about the place.
When this window is replaced, with one that fits, it is going to need curtains. What will they say about our place? Who knew that curtains could talk? How will we find ones that say the right things?
Step away from the computer. Yay the sun is out, settle under the sunshade for a think.
The sunshade starts talking about itself and the level of style and taste around here. It doesn’t say anything nice at all.
Remember to Procrastinate
Being Busy and Getting Things Done is a sign of stress. Kind of PTSD from a disaster years ago, when you failed to do something. Like the day my car stopped because I didn’t put oil in it, ever. So it got hot.
Then I found out that cars catch fire if you pour oil into hot engines.
This was dangerous, not just because it was a car on fire, but because I could have gone into a spiral, from that day on, of trying to stay on top of things. Remember. Cars don’t catch fire every day. They can run for years without oil. Well the old ones could anyway.
So when you sniff a disaster, like trying to rent out a soulless heap of a barn with silent curtains. Stop. Relax. Get things in proportion.
I gave up on the form and pretended to be a customer. Maybe I could learn something? I did.
Discover that The Website Knows what you Want.
And it only takes 10 minutes to book something lovely.
Out of hundreds of thousands of properties, flat 103 overlooking a sunny beach in South Wales won me! How did it do that?
A friend pointed out that I was going to a rainy area. Then she went off on holiday to North Devon, a place I avoided at all cost when I lived nearby because it had gloomy cliffs and even worse weather than North Cornwall. Nowhere is exotic if you know it too well.
For both of us it was all about boxes and Airbnb robots. They harvested our box ticking, wrapped everything up with blue sky photos, and lured us in.
Learn How to be a Customer
You have to apply to book and when the kind owner says ‘Yes’ you get a warm glow of feeling liked. You look at the reviews and people are talking about welcome packs, so you get excited about free treats and start looking at the weather forecast.
If you are lucky it will look like this.
Take a Break and Learn More
Guests are Excited. It had been a long time, because of pandemics, work and the barn eating up all spare days. Suddenly we were crossing into Wales, sick with excitement about exploring the Gower, watching the sea and staying in a flat. We started thinking of things our own guests might get excited about, how to tap in to their souls to lure them in.
Photos Must Tell the Truth. Like this one did.
Not sure if a view of chickens digging a hole in the lawn is going to match up somehow.
Hosts Should be Nice especially if they live next door. Ours was, so we quickly tricked them into giving us a 20 minute course in ‘how to run an Airbnb’. I should have paid extra for that.
Cleanliness is Everything. At home you don’t see cat hair, grease, dust, spots of mould or dabs of chicken poo. But as a guest you grow new eyes so just one crumb in the wrong will stand out and make you feel weirdly territorial.
Free Stuff is Everything Else. The little tray with assorted biscuits, sauces and drinks was as exciting as a Christmas stocking.
Even if you don’t like Nutella it is nice to know that somebody left it there JUST FOR YOU.
Guests Need to Get Out. After you have done ‘relaxing’ for a bit, you decide to explore. If you are sensible you will just take a short walk.
This should have been enough.
Or you might stupidly drive somewhere famous like Rhossili beach, alongside everybody else in the UK. So you get stuck on tiny roads behind RUBBISH DRIVERS who go too slow, even though you are relaxing so what is the hurry?
And then you get to the famous beach you always wanted to see, and you can’t work the carpark machine and there is a biting cold east wind. So you scamper back to the flat with the nice warm view and think about what makes a good outing and how to tell guests where to go.
Take it Easy and Read a Book
Enough research. Time to marvel at the view.
And then you get headspace so you can read the book your friend sent you, even though you didn’t like the look of it.
Mine was called ‘Horse’ by Geraldine Brooks and it turned out to be 100 times better than it looked. After two days I knew a lot more about the American Civil war and why the horse racing industry needs looking at. Just in time for the Grand National because suddenly everybody else is thinking that too.
Time to get back to the barn. Maybe it will be ready one day, but not yet.