This week let’s meet Donna😊
Donna is from Baltimore, Milton, Delaware. She owns, along with her brother, a three-floor house in Broadkill Beach. Donna lives on the first floor and she rents the third-floor short-term for the last year and a half. She loves making her guests happy during their vacation and offering them a nice and relaxing getaway.
Let’s hear her story! 🔊
So Donna, 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 a short 1 1/2 years and only one floor of the 2 apartment houses has been available. I inherited the house due to covid April 2020 and also inherited non-paying tenants on the 2nd floor. Due to covid, I could NOT evict so I made the best of my situation. Renovated the 3rd floor and started an Airbnb and Vrbo platform. It is one property with the flexibility of 2 separate apartments or a whole house listing. I have JUST recently listed three options as each floor individually or whole house option. Still not sure how I am going to manage all three. But I know Hosthub has been a godsend to sync my calendars between Airbnb and Vrbo with a one-floor apartment listing for the past year. Hoping all goes smooth with the new listings.
Are you an owner or a manager? Is this a part-time or full-time occupation for you?
I am a co-owner with my brother. I manage the house. He is my “muscle”. The entire house has been newly renovated and updated with more things on the list to do. It is something we constantly strive to do – keep things upgraded, new, fresh and happy for our guests. So far we have GREAT reviews!!! This is like a part-time job for me (but I don’t get paid…yet). Still trying to recover from all the renovations that had to be done. It was our Mother’s “dream house” to retire in and we both want to keep it in the family. Personally, I would love to retire here myself (I’m not old enough yet to do that! lol)
What is the best thing about hosting, and what are the biggest problems you face?
The best thing about hosting for me is making people happy with their vacation. Whether it’s a short 3 day weekend or a week or two. Everyone works so hard all year long they deserve a nice, relaxing getaway at least once a year! I have actually had people reserve for next year after visiting my place this past year. Really makes me feel good!
The biggest problems I have had to face so far – cable tv went out and guests had to be available for comcast to come to fix. They were not happy about that, but yet they weren’t happy about not having cable. No win situation. Also got a 3-star review (from the same people) about the “green-headed” flies found on the beach the month of July. Also not in my control. Basically, if people want to complain, they will find something to complain about. You just have to let it go.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started hosting?
The one thing I wish I had known when I started hosting is the same thing I still wish I knew. How to manage these websites!! It literally takes an act of God for anyone to help you with anything! You are on your own. I was fortunate to have a tech-savvy person help me set up my first Airbnb account. But it has taken my own personal (several hours and sometimes weeks) to figure out the VRBO and Airbnb and now the Furnished Finders websites. No one is ever there to help you. So good luck with that! LOL, I’m still lost.
What is the most important advice/tip you would give someone interested in becoming a short-term rental host?
Most important advice I can give – hire a good person/ company that can accommodate an active cleaning schedule in the summer AND do a good job. The first thing a guest will complain about is a house that does not meet their cleaning standards. Back-to-back bookings are stressful for cleaning companies. Make sure they can handle last-minute reservations, etc…
Besides Hosthub, 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?
My house is all utilities included. No individual meters. The best things I have purchased to help with remote check-in/check-outs and monitoring my property are a Ring doorbell and a Schlage Home entrance system. Also because of the two separate apartments, I bought two “realator” combination locks for inside the lobby. So basically I can see and talk to whoever is at my door. I can select and delete codes for guests and program for the time period they have rented and once inside they can only retrieve the keys of the apartment they have rented. Works Great!!
Which channels do you list on? How much has your revenue increased since listing on multiple channels?
I advertise on Airbnb, VRBO, and now Furnished Finders. And my personal FB.
You can find out more about Donna’s properties here:
Here are some photos to give you a better vision of Donna’s property (click for larger versions) 🧐