Real Estate

Cottage-country owners make Airbnb’s most hospitable hosts list

A photo of Wendy and David Photo courtesy Wendy and David

Each year, Airbnb announces its most hospitable hosts across Canada, awarding one host per province with the designation. This year, two of the distinguished hosts are cottage owners.

We can’t say we’re surprised. If there’s one thing cottagers are good at, it’s providing a hospitable escape for visiting family and friends.

In order to receive the recognition, hosts had to have achieved nearly 100 per cent five-star ratings in the following categories: cleanliness, check-in, and communication. To raise the bar even further, Airbnb set the minimum number of reviews at 100.

This was no problem for Wendy and David, the Huntsville, Ont. The couple, who has well over 200 consecutive, five-star reviews for The Farm on Old North Road, was happy to have earned the designation for a second time since 2021. “It was nice to learn we’ve kept up our standards,” says Wendy. “We love doing this, so it’s nice to see that our guests are enjoying themselves as well,” says David.

In addition to providing breakfast when requested by visitors, Wendy and David go above and beyond to ensure guests enjoy their stay. “Communication is the biggest thing,” says Wendy. “We try to answer all their questions before they even get here by providing as much detail in our listing and in a letter we send out before their visit. Then, when they arrive, we like to meet them on the driveway and welcome them personally.”

Wendy and David also provide guests with information about nearby activities, such as day-trips to Algonquin Park or Arrowhead Provincial Park. “When guests come back from an outing, we like to ask them about their experience, so we know what to recommend to future guests,” says Wendy.

Having great photos also plays a big role in Wendy and David’s success. Providing plenty of good quality photos while being honest about what you’re presenting is important so that people aren’t disappointed when they arrive. “When the guests get here, they invariably have one of two responses. Either, ‘Wow it’s so peaceful here,’ or, ‘Wow, it looks just like the pictures,’ which is what you want,” says David.

The other most hospitable cottage host is located in Pleasant Valley, N.S. Kat, who runs the lakeside Airbnb Luna Rosa Chalet, was also happy to earn the designation again this year after receiving it in 2021. “It was lovely and unexpected,” says Kat. “I felt very pleased that what my family and I have created here resonates with our guests, who give us the best feedback and so much love. I really have the best guests that just keep coming back.”

So what keeps them returning year after year? “I think people love being so close to nature and the lake,” she says. “We’re unplugged here, so guests are able to disconnect and be out in nature. It’s a nice escape from the day-to-day world.”

Like Wendy and David, Kat also knows that providing visitors with the resources they need to have a great vacation is key. “Make sure your guests have everything they need and information about the locality,” she says. “For those that might not be very familiar with rural Nova Scotia, for example, it’s great to let them know what kinds of things they can do, set expectations, and share knowledge about the area.”

When asked what makes an exceptional host, Kat stressed the importance of creating a unique experience. “It’s important to make people feel comfortable and at home,” she says. “Be yourself. Airbnb was founded on unique stays, so I always try to create an experience for people beyond just a bed and some blankets and a stove. People travel for new experiences, not repetition,” Kat adds.

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