posted on August 17th, 2018

Hosting advice from the experts

In life, experience is the best teacher. The same goes for hosting on Turo — the more trips you host, the better you become at working with guests and managing your business. To help guide those of you hosts who are just getting started, or maybe just looking for some pointers, we asked a few of Turo’s most experienced and highly-rated hosts to share the lessons they’ve learned on the job.

The hosts we spoke with all have exceptional track records with five-star ratings across the board. Jerry X. is a sharing economy veteran in Southern California with over 170 trips under his belt and a six-minute response time. Atlanta host Robert L. has been hosting since April 2016 and boasts a 100% response rate. Zoeb F. is one of Turo’s most experienced community members, having hosted around 2,900 trips in the Bay Area since joining in 2014.

Turns out, there’s no magic potion for dominating the hosting game. These hosts perform at the level they do because they’ve worked hard to consistently provide excellent service by building good habits and not cutting corners. Here are five practices these top hosts embrace:

1. Communicate expectations clearly

The most important part of hosting is communicating clearly and honestly, especially before your guest starts their trip. If you’re a host, many of your guests are likely new to Turo and might be unsure about car sharing. Give them confidence by setting your expectations early on and guiding them through the process.

Tell them what they need to know, including information about your car, getting in touch during the trip, and how the return process works, but don’t overload. Zoeb recommends sending key details through the app’s messenger so that they can access it later on.

All our top hosts stress that providing excellent customer service is crucial for attracting both returning guests and new ones. Start by reassuring your guests with straightforward communication.

2. Be accessible during trips

This seems like a no-brainer — make yourself accessible during your guest’s trip. When a guest has a question but can’t get in touch with their host, it’s not a great feeling. It helps to make sure your guests have your phone number before they hit the road. “I tell them to feel free to call or text me with any questions they have during the trip,” says Zoeb. “I feel it’s really important to express this to them so they never feel like they are left hanging.”

Respond quickly to their messages. This will reassure them that you’re there to help, but also it’s just the courteous thing to do. If you know you’ll be unavailable during stretches of a trip, let your guests know.

3. Trust the process

Trusting the process isn’t just for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Turo app guides both parties through all the logistics, and every step is there to ensure the trip happens safely and smoothly — stick to the process and don’t cut corners. Take all the pictures you can for each trip and advise your guests to do the same. There’s no such thing as too many trip photos.

“I follow the checklists religiously,” says Robert. “Never deviate from your processes and stick to protocol — this way everyone has a pleasant experience and both parties are properly protected.” Be flexible when you have to, but stick to your guns, be confident in your routines, and your guests will follow suit.

4. Build relationships

Take just a little time to connect with your guests. Ask about their trip to let them know you’re looking out for them and their experience. It’s common for guests to repeatedly return to hosts they feel comfortable with, so your effort to build rapport with guests will be rewarded. “You can earn their business as well as their friends’ and help build trust when it comes to using Turo,” says Jerry.

Repeat guests are ideal. They’re familiar with your car and already know how you operate and communicate, meaning less work for you and less uncertainty for everyone. Plus, you might even make some friends.

5. Be a smart car buyer

If you’re thinking of buying a car and intend to list it on Turo, that’s great! But buying a car is always a big decision, and potential hosting duties add another layer to the cake. A smart car buyer hunts for good deals and stays patient — there’s big potential to save a lot of money when purchasing a vehicle, depending on where you look and the time of year. “Understand that every dollar saved goes towards your bottom line and that your initial decision on price will greatly affect your listing’s profitability,” advises Jerry.

If the car will be used frequently on Turo, tap your hosting experience and consider what types of vehicles your guests will want. And there are a ton of good places to buy cars — cast your net wide to give yourself the best chance at success. If you’re looking for something specific, Zoeb recommends setting up Craigslist notifications — “you never know when a really good deal on the perfect car will pop up.”

Steven is an avid car guy and content specialist at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.