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    Mastering the schedule and timing of your Experience

    Tips for fine-tuning the logistics for your guests.
    By Airbnb on Sep 13, 2018
    3 min read
    Updated Aug 27, 2021

    Highlights

    • Guests appreciate thoughtfully planned Experiences

    • Think through the order of events and how you’ll transition between them

    • Inform guests how long you’ll be spending on each activity

    • Let guests know when each activity is nearing completion

    • Choose an easy-to-spot meeting point and do what you can to help guests find it

    As rewarding as hosting an Experience can be, sometimes the logistics can be challenging. As the Host, you are expected to juggle many things at once: managing time, navigating group dynamics, catering to individual guest needs, handling unforeseen developments, expertly executing the activity itself, and doing all of this with a smile. It’s part of what makes hosting both very challenging and incredibly rewarding.

    In this article, we’ll share some tips on timing and scheduling based on feedback from guests and what we’ve heard from successful Hosts.

    Planning the order of events

    Guests tell us they appreciate when Experiences are thoughtfully planned out. Consider creating a narrative flow (beginning, middle, and end). When things progress in a logical order, it creates a better overall Experience for guests. This is because it can make the Host look more organized and professional, helps guests remember what happened during the Experience, and also helps the Host execute the Experience with repeatable precision.

    Plan the right flow by considering the order of events and how you’ll transition between different parts. For example, how many locations will you visit and does the order in which you visit them make sense? How will you keep the guests engaged and interested while in transit between the locations?

    Many Hosts have found it helpful to think through the order of events of their Experience by mapping it onto a structure with 5 distinct stages:

    1. Before: communicating with guests before they arrive to the Experience
    2. Introduction: creating a great first impression for guests upon arrival
    3. Activity: delivering the activity of the Experience in a way that surpasses expectations
    4. Wrap-up: bringing the Experience to a thoughtful conclusion
    5. After: following up with guests afterward to say thanks, share your own favorite moments, and nudge them to leave a review

    Managing time

    When it comes to an Experience, time management can be a tricky art to master. It involves being conscious of the time while simultaneously remaining present in the moment and flexible when necessary.

    It can be tricky to keep things running on time when there are lots of factors at play, such as guests arriving late, transportation delays, or having a curious group asking more questions than usual.

    Here are some tips that can help you keep an eye on the time without feeling completely controlled by the clock:

    1. Do a test run with friends or family to give you a benchmark of how long each activity or section may take. You can consult this checklist to help yourself prepare for a successful practice Experience.
    2. As you lead your guests in the Experience, let everyone know how long you’ll be spending on each activity (“We’ll be here for 20 minutes then move on to the next stop”), then give warnings as the activity time nears completion (“5 more minutes, everyone!”) so no one is caught by surprise.
    3. Plan to be flexible by baking in some cushion time in case something goes longer than expected. If you find yourself with extra time, consider having talking points or mini-activities ready to add in.

    Handling location and transportation issues

    We’ve heard from both Hosts and guests that a big issue can be finding everyone at the meeting point in order to start the Experience on time. There are many ways to potentially address this issue.

    You may want to ask yourself: Is my current meeting point easy for an out-of-town guest to get to and spot? Is it away from large crowds? Once you have the right meeting point, it’s a good idea to: 

    • Call out a specific landmark to look for
    • Wear or carry something distinctive so your guests can identify you
    • Be specific and clear in your directions 
    • Send a photo of the meeting point through the Airbnb message thread

    Next, consider the time of day that the Experience is taking place. Will that impact guests’ ability to arrive on time? Think about any traffic or public transportation schedules they may need to account for. Remember that it may be their first time in your city, so they may not have all the context on how things work or where things are located in relation to each other.

    People had the tendency to show up late, but I noticed that during the week I was hosting the Experience during rush hour. Once I prepared them in a message to plan accordingly, the tardiness went down by 70%.
    Dominique,
    San Diego, CA

    We hope the tips included here will help you in your Hosting journey. Remember that everyone has their own unique hosting style, so it’s important to find what works best for you while also ensuring a high-quality, positive Experience for your guests.

    Highlights

    • Guests appreciate thoughtfully planned Experiences

    • Think through the order of events and how you’ll transition between them

    • Inform guests how long you’ll be spending on each activity

    • Let guests know when each activity is nearing completion

    • Choose an easy-to-spot meeting point and do what you can to help guests find it

    Airbnb
    Sep 13, 2018
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