Hosting Tips & Tricks

December Rental Host Wrap-Up: Facial Recognition and Dealing with Bad Reviews

December Rental Host Wrap-Up: Facial Recognition and Dealing with Bad Reviews

Howdy, to all you happy hosts and rental rock stars! I hope your December was full of booked nights and 5-star reviews. With December over so is 2018 and I hope it was a year that made you happy, healthy, and wise! Personally, I am not big on making resolutions but I do like to look back and be thankful for what has happened in the past year. In keeping with that sentiment, I want to say thank you. To everyone that made a purchase, read our emails, and even liked a post, you helped make it a great year for all of us here at Good Host Shop and we appreciate all of you so much. And, to everyone making resolutions, we wish you the best on your journey! And, if things happen not to work out for whatever reason, please be sure to be kind to yourself. Now, let's take a look back at the December Rental Host Wrap-Up:


Future Plans

For all its flaws, Airbnb is still the biggest source of renters for many hosts. This means that many hosts future income relies on the decisions the company makes. If you are tying your future income so closely to a company, it is important to keep abreast to the moves the company is making. Airbnb is approaching an important moment in its history, they are preparing to go public. Once they do, for the first time in the company's history, the funders will no longer be in complete control. They will now have to answer to stockholders. How will this affect the life of rental hosts? It's hard to say but a recent interview in Forbes seems to imply they are going to continue to push for the unique experiences that originally made them popular with renters. Of course, the founder could be saying this as a publicity move. Either way, I know myself and others will be closely following to see what is said and more importantly what is done. Check out the full interview and see what you think the future will hold.


Facial Recognition Door Locks

In case you didn't know, China has its own version of Airbnb called Xiaozhu. Essentially, it has the same functionality as Airbnb but, every once in a while, they put out functionality that is a predecessor to technology coming to the rest of the world. And, I think that is exactly what is happening in Chengdu, a popular tourist destination in China. Xiaozhu is planning on 80% of the listings in Chengdu to have facial recognition door locks. That's right. No keys, no codes, and the guest that booked the reservation is the one that has to actually check in. If you think this is just sci-fi fantasyland than you haven't been to a KFC in China where you already place your order using facial recognition software. I am not saying this is coming tomorrow but these kinds of technologies, once perfected, often spread quickly. So, consider yourself warned! Here is a full write-up for more details on what is happening. 


Listing Spotlight

This darling listing titled, " Atlanta Vintage Urban Backyard Camper" is only a short distance from the heart of the ATL. It is a perfect example of how to make a unique short-term rental on a budget. All you need is a little start-up capital, some ingenuity, and great photos to book like a champion. The owner describes staying here as, "like “glamping” aka glamour camping. Try something different and live like an urban nomad for a few days nestled in a private location." With a ton of bookings and a mountain of five-star reviews, I would say this little camper is doing something right! Got a fun listing you want to share? Send it our way at

Best Short Term Rental Listings


Hosting Tip: Responding to Bad Reviews

The bad reviews are coming for you! You can run, you can hide, but eventually one will find you. The policy of most hosting sites is that unless the review includes hate speech or something you can prove is factually incorrect they will not remove it. Given enough number of guests you host, one is certainly not going to see eye to eye with you and will leave you some unflattering remarks. When this happens, the temptation is to either ignore it or lash out and call the guest a dumb poopoo head and explain that, yes, your rental does have hot water and the guest just doesn't know how to use a shower! If you want to stay in business, you need to resist these urges and leave a fact-based, unemotional response that is aimed at alleviating the concerns of future guests. Remember, the response is not for the previous guest you're responding to but it's to assure future guests that your place is the beautiful gem you know it to be. For a full breakdown on how to respond to bad reviews, check out our write-up.


Poll Question of the Month

Rental hosts rarely have the opportunity to see how other hosts operate which makes it hard to learn and improve. The solution? Every month, I ask a poll question so we can all learn from each other. Last month, I asked about your check-in situation:

Do you offer a self-check-in option for your guests?

  • 92% - Yes
  • 8% - No

WOW! That was lopsided. Looks like with a whopping 92% of rental hosts offering self-check-in that we have a pretty good idea what guests are expecting. If you are part of the 8% not offering self-check-in, this might be a good time to update your rental in order to meet the current expectations of guests.

This month, I want to ask you about your sheet preference:

survey solutions