“We love guests that want to connect with us”. Aaltje B. on hospitality in New Zeeland (+amazing photos)
Please welcome Aaltje B. (joined the Community 3 years 1 month ago) who shared a few thoughts on the hospitality in New Zeeland and her professional challenges.
Please tell us a few words about how you started to run a property. What were you doing before? Why did you decide to start this business?
We have hosted on a voluntary basis since 2003. When we moved to a new location in 2011, we thought of going commercial. We own a farm. And do need some extra income but also seeing people is nice since we live in a very isolated but popular area.
What was the biggest challenge when you started? Were there any details of hosting that you hadn’t anticipated that you learned quickly?
The biggest challenge is to stand out from the crowd to make our property attractive to choose from. Details: Having my own device for guests being able to pay on my doorstep on arrival is great. Only just started using this since I stopped the channel manager system. Guests not speaking English and getting lost in the dark in their car is the biggest challenge. And guests not communicating or reading well before booking.
Guests taking children and not communicating that before! I learned to be open to every guests' needs. They are different every time, and to be flexible and responsive is key to success. To be more successful I need more platforms. But with Covid now limiting us in New Zealand, guests often prefer to use a local platform.
When did you have this feeling: “I did it, my business is doing great!”? How many months (years?) did it take?
That took two years. But we are very seasonal. Most business is in summer. We only have one guesthouse with one bedroom.
Were there any memorable, unexpected, or amusing moments since you became a partner that taught you something about being a host?
We love guests that want to connect with us. I don't like it if guests leave without saying anything.
What was your perfect guest? If you haven’t met him/her yet, will you please describe what a perfect guest looks like?
My perfect guest is a great communicator, pays upon arrival, leaves the property clean and tidy, and leaves a top review saying that they want to come back.
I see you are active in the Partner Community. What do you like most about it?
Sharing experiences is very valuable.
What would you like to change in the Partner Community to make it better?
I would love to be able to see a link to a social network online.
This past year was hard for everyone, especially partners. But did you manage to get something positive out of this tough year? Were you able to tackle any projects that you had previously put off or that you think will help prepare you for a 2021 recovery? How did you spend time you would have otherwise devoted to your business?
I dived into photography. We are doing some renovations to upgrade the guesthouse. An additional laundry facility will be ready soon.
What do you think the travel industry will look like in 2021? What trends do you see in the coming year?
I don't see much international travel to New Zeeland but do expect national travel to increase.
What would you like to wish to your fellow partners?
Covid free responsible happy guests.