Monday, July 4, 2011

Practicing Hospitality Pt. II

This is the follow-up from "Heidi Anspacher," a former student who has been learning a ton about providing a homestay experience for guest cyclists in her home, and not killing herself in the process. You can see our first exchange here.

Dear Ride Bikes, Drink Coffee:

Thank you for giving me lots of things to think about this week. I wanted to write back with a quick update. My avoidance must have sent a message, because as the visit went on, my guests got a little better about leaving areas mostly how they found them, and confining the chaos in common areas to specific, smaller areas. Monday evening one of them mumbled acknowledgment that they "spread out a lot" and thanked me for putting up with it—this is as close as we ever got to broaching the issue. They tried to feel me out for staying another day, but since I had another cyclist coming after them, I was thankfully able to decline. I saw them right before they left, and I was glad that I was already able to be a more pleasant friend since they had moved on to another host for their last night in town.

While I did not work up the cajones to be as direct about the situation as I would have liked, moving forward I'm definitely reevaluating my guest policies. At the moment I've got my first visitor staying here—a gracious young woman who has been nothing but delightful. Even though it was clear it wouldn't be a problem, I did start her visit by making some specific requests regarding common areas. And I'm considering a "no couples" policy so I don't have to problem-solve if I need something in my bedroom while guests are sleeping there.

In short, I haven't figured this whole hosting thing out yet since I'm really new to the game, but I'm trying to learn from this experience so I can get better at it. Thank you again for your help!

Heidi Anspacher

Dear HA,
It sounds like you took the opportunity to reflect on what works best for you. Honestly, that will improve the whole experience for you as well as your guests.  It certainly helps take the anxiety level down when you know your system and can explain it to visitors in such a way that everybody is clear on the parameters.
Congratulations to you for your "aha moments," and for sharing them with me.
All the best,

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