Open Air Homes Practices “Unreasonable Hospitality.” Should Other Short-Term Rental & Airbnb Hosts do the Same?


Short-term rentals who practice Unreasonable Hospitality will likely experience the most longevity in the industry.

Thoughtful touches and one-of-a-kind gifts are important factors of success for vacation rental hosts.

What is “Unreasonable Hospitality?”

As we move into our tenth year in business, we’ve always made a point to go above and beyond for guests. We consider top-notch service and personalized touches our secret weapon for being successful in the short-term and Month+ rental sector. Unreasonable Hospitality, a term coined by restaurateur Will Guidara from the acclaimed Eleven Madison Park, is a perfect descriptor. 

The title of Guidara’s debut book neatly defines the term: Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect.

Unreasonable Hospitality is an excellent catchall term for, well, giving people more than they expect. It’s about anticipating customer needs and making guests feel seen. Unreasonable Hospitality can be applied to nearly any business, whether you’re an Airbnb host, hotelier, or entrepreneur. 

Personalized gifts and amenities make guests of short-term rentals & Airbnbs feel heard and respected.

Over the past nine years of business, we found that the best way to provide excellent hospitality was by ensuring a home is impeccably clean, well-maintained, well-designed, and a great home away from home for our guests. We provide welcome gifts–starting with a bottle of wine, then moving to handwritten welcome cards, then to a variety of personalized welcome gifts to show our appreciation for booking with us. 

Guidara expands more on this practice on October 26th’s TED Talks Daily Podcast episode. Coming in at just under 15 minutes, it’s a quick and thought-provoking listen for Airbnb and short-term rental hosts of all experience levels. 

Why Should Airbnb Hosts and Month+ Rental Owners Practice Unreasonable Hospitality?

The hospitality industry has been hit hard since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic. Countless industries seemed to change drastically overnight, and new protocols had to be implemented immediately to adapt to the rapidly changing world. 

In 2021, it was reported that the pandemic set the hotel industry back by a decade, eliminating ten years of job growth. As for short-term rentals, demand dropped 16.2% overall in 2020 (source). 

Although the short-term rental industry has seemingly bounced back, there’s more supply than ever, with vacation rentals accounting for 31.3% of all privately-owned accommodation establishments nationwide. Hosts and homeowners must look for ways to differentiate themselves from the countless other options.

We at Open Air Homes continually look for ways to improve our guests’ experiences. As we begin to emerge from this rough period for the hospitality industry, we are adopting Guidara’s Unreasonable Hospitality strategy to make each of our guests’ stays memorable. 

How do we Provide Unreasonable Hospitality to Month+ and Short-Term Rental Guests?

Unreasonable Hospitality, for us, begins with the booking process. 

Once confirmed, we ask guests open-ended questions about their upcoming stay. We ask what drew them to this specific home, what attractions they look forward to visiting, and their favorite cuisines.

From there, we build a customized list of recommendations, from restaurants to local attractions, that we recommend for this specific guest. We often know some of the best secret restaurants around or off-the-beaten-path attractions that you won’t typically find on page one of Google. We encourage guests to tell us what excites them about their vacation, and we custom-tailor a set of recommendations specifically for them.

Host tip: Your renters know themselves better than anyone else. Rather than guessing their needs, ask. They’ll feel heard and know that you take what they say seriously. 

Tailoring Guest Interests Into Unique & Useful Mementos 

Guests’ answers about their interests help us get creative with the hand-selected welcome gift that’s unique to only them. 

Personalized gifts are a powerful way to build lasting relationships with customers and guests.

Are they going to Disneyland? We may purchase them a Disney Autograph Book for their adventure. 

Do they love Yoga? We might get them the yoga mat we love

Are they bringing their kids, and did they mention family game nights? We may give them one of our favorite card games, Monopoly Deal (it’s addictive and fun for the whole family). 

We look to customize their gift as much as possible with the information they provide to enhance their stay. 

It’s also great for guests to have a physical reminder of their trip that they can bring with them. It’ll provide them with happy memories for years to come. 

Tailoring Guest Interests Into Thoughtful Recommendations

We want our properties to feel like a home away from home. In addition to a customized welcome gift, unique recommendations are essential. 

For example, The Wine Shop at the back end of the Mojave Flea Market is one of our favorite selections for natural wines. With a quirky selection of natural wines and a friendly and dedicated staff, it’s the perfect attraction for wine enthusiasts. However, due to its somewhat tucked-away location, guests from out of town may never know to visit. 

Rooster and the Pig is a walk-in-only restaurant, which may drive some people away. However, it’s one of our favorite restaurants in the area! We give this customized recommendation to specific guests, with the added detail of heading next door to Rio Azul to sip one of their great margaritas while you wait for your table. If the wait is too long, eat at Rio Azul and try the fajitas. Their complimentary table salsa is also the best in town! 

The Power of Unreasonable Hospitality 

Practicing Unreasonable Hospitality is a must for any host hoping to stand out in the saturated short-term rental industry. Guests will likely use reviews as a deciding factor if it comes down to two similar vacation rental properties. Reading that a host was attentive and caring would make that property win out over one that was just okay. 

Immediately making guests feel heard sets their entire stay up for success. Even if a maintenance or other issue occurs during their stay, they’re much more likely to be understanding, as they know they’re in good hands! 

At Open Air Homes, the short-term rental industry still has a long way to go to mirror the hospitality standards of some of the best hotels in the world. We are committed to closing this gap over the next ten years of business and are continually looking to the best hospitality practices in the industry to strive to create unforgettable trips and experiences for every guest who sets foot in one of our homes.  

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