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Posts Tagged ‘AirBnB’

The content for this post has been racing around in my head for months.  I just haven’t had time to sit down and write it, and to be perfectly honest, I suppose I was also unsure of how to approach it.  Today the light dawned!

As you know we joined AirBnB way back in 2013.  Earlier this year, we felt that the bookings were slower to come in so we asked over on our Facebook page what booking platforms people used?  We rarely get to go away so we don’t get to use these platforms ourselves.

Well, my word, I never knew there were so many!!  We had joined various platforms since 2013, but even still the response to my question stumped me at how many others there were out there.

I thought I’d share our feelings and thoughts on the platforms we’ve used and/or tried to use.

Oldfarm – book now

AirBnB

Our first foray into the bed and breakfast world was with AirBnB.  To put it simply, we love it.  We have met some wonderful people.  The couple of times we’ve had any difficulties the staff at AirBnB HQ have been extremely helpful and had things sorted in jig time.  The website/platform is easy to use.  The guest/host review system works and is a great way to assess who is coming to stay.  The payment system is efficient and trouble-free.

Booking.com

This was the platform that was the second most popular response. We had always avoided Booking.com because of their fee structure.  However, with it getting so many votes we thought we had to give it a try.  We signed up in May and almost immediately bookings started to roll in.  Our thoughts?  It is definitely a different ‘type’ of person that uses this system…. don’t get me wrong, still lovely people, but the pre-visit communication is not the same.  Guests can review us, but we can’t review guests.  The ‘extranet’ (that’s what they call their website?) is a bit cumbersome to use. We have to collect the payment ourselves.  On the plus side, we have been invited by Booking.com to trial a new app they are developing and we are excited to be part of this process.

TripAdviser

A disaster.  Again it was one that was recommended.  We went through the process, but failed to get anywhere as we didn’t have a ‘staff’ list for housecleaning….. it is me and him!!!

Wimdu

I cannot remember how we found this app, but we signed up to it many years ago. I think about 5 years ago.  In that time we’ve just had one booking.  It works in a very similar ay to AirBnB, and for that one booking everything worked seamlessly. And, just now, as I tried to find a link to share with you, I’ve discovered Wimdu actually redirects you to Booking.com!

FreeBirdClub

This is an interesting new platform.  It is Irish.  I think about 2 years old, and is aimed at people over 50 hosting people over 50.  A pretty cool idea.  I can’t give any further comment on it as we haven’t had a single booking through it yet.

HomeStay

Again, I believe, this was developed in Ireland.  We’ve been on this platform for about 4 or 5 years.  We’ve only had one booking in that time.  The way HomeStay works is that they take a commission as the booking deposit, and then it is up to the host to collect money on departure.

HomeAway

What can I say about this?  I’m sure it probably works well for some, but it was nothing but trouble for us.  We signed up earlier this year, got bookings, met lovely people.  However, payment was very slow to come through.  When we tried to chase it, we were told we shouldn’t even be on their platform as it is only for ‘entire’ properties!  Why then do you have a B&B category listed? In the end I just removed our listing… the staff were not helpful at all.

 

In conclusion, AirBnB is still our number one.  It gets so much bad press.  For those outside of Ireland, AirBnB is being blamed here in Ireland for causing the ‘housing crisis’.  Now let’s make it clear, I am quite sure there are greedy landlords going for the short-term let rather than long term.  However, to put our side of the argument… here in rural Tipperary what few people we bring into the area, spend money locally and are helping to sustain and improve this little patch.

We are enjoying the process of working with Booking.com on their new applications.  Check out the new ‘book now’ button that they’ve initiated on our Facebook page … more I am sure will follow on this.

We are always open to suggestions.

Are there other platforms we should be using?

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There is a story behind this recipe!

Sometime late summer of 2016  Mag Kirwan of  Goatsbridge asked if I would submit a recipe for a cookbook she was compiling in aid of Hospice Africa Uganda. I immediately said ‘yes’…. thinking of some of the nice fish recipes I have.  Then, of course, all hell broke out!

Alfie went and had the heart attack.  Fish recipe was not top of my list of priorities as you can imagine.

Denise over at Goatsbridge sent me an email at some point to remind me.  I went yeah, yeah, yeah… I’ll get that done.

Forgot about it again.  To make a long story short, by the time I got around to submitting my Fish Pie recipe, they already had one.  Plan B, I’ll send my kedgeree recipe… yes, you guessed it, they had one!  Now panic was setting in.  I just didn’t have time to work on something new.

Then I remembered this recipe for smoked trout, or smoked salmon, pate that my Aunt Eileen had given me many years ago.  I didn’t even have time to make it and take a photo to go with the recipe, but at least I did fulfil my promise.

Last summer (2017) one of our AirBnB guests was looking through the Fishwives cookbook, and declared that I was a ‘published author’.  Now that may be a bit of a stretch of the imagination…. but I did take brief pleasure from the accolade.  And as an aside the Fishwives cookbook went on to win the Best Fish & Seafood Book at the World Gourmand Awards last year.

So here’s the recipe.

Goatsbridge Trout Pate

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz/100 g smoked trout
  • 2 – 3 oz/60 g soft butter
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 clove garlic crushed.
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz!  How easy is that???

Enjoy 🙂

 

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I’m still here

If you’ve moved on from following the blog…. I wouldn’t blame you.  Life really has got in the way of blogging the past few months.

However, I am still here.  Still doing things and rushing about trying to keep head above water.

We’ve had a busy summer again.

Alfie was in and out of hospital quite a bit.  The last stint was 2 weeks from 16th August, which, of course, clashed with one of our busiest times with AirBnB.  Alfie is feeling a lot better now, so fingers and toes crossed that we have reached the end of that journey.

View from the Cliffs of Moher

We did manage a couple of days off at the beginning of August to spend time with friends and to do the ‘tourist’ thing for ourselves.

I shall write about some of those experiences as well as the many topics spinning around in my head that I want to share with you.  So over the coming weeks, I may be having a rant or two!!!  And I guess, it is a good sign when guests want me to share recipes with them, so you can look forward to some recipes too!

How have you all been?

How has your summer gone?

Did you get to have holidays?

 

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This photo was taken by our airbnb guest last week…. check out Enrique’s Facebook page for some amazing photos : Quique Aparicio Fotografía

We really love this one of our handsome girl, Winnie.

Isn’t she handsome?

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Our neighbourhood is not a natural tourist destination, nor is it promoted as a tourist destination.  It is quite a hidden gem… almost a secret gem.  So we are delighted to receive the guests who do come our way.

our home

We have met some really lovely people… as has been said so often by guests “we came as strangers and left as friends”.  Perhaps, it is our listing, our reviews, or our location that attracts like-minded people!  We’ve had people from all parts of the world come stay, and many the lively conversation that’s been had over the kitchen table at dinner.

We often wish we could both persuade more people to come, and persuade those who do come to stay for longer.  The #MagicalMidlands has so much to offer – magnificent historical destinations; activities like cycling, hiking, fishing and walking; and, of course, beautiful scenery.

We like to think that by being hosts we are helping our community, bringing tourists to this wonderful part of Ireland, boosting the local economy just a little bit… and, of course, introducing guests to the ‘social dancing’ on Friday nights – always a big hit.

If you are planning a trip to middle Ireland, do stay a while.

We are delighted and thankful that bookings have started to come in for this year.  And, now Minister Heather Humphries, has launched a new Action Plan for Rural Ireland that promises a 12% increase in tourism for 2017…. well, we’ll see…..

As St. Patrick’s Day will give us a long weekend this year, we thought we’d do a special offer to encourage you all to come and visit the #MagicalMidlands.  As we are quite remote, we give guests the option of joining us in the kitchen for dinner.   You will see from our listing that we’re not bad cooks, so good food is guaranteed!

  • Option 1:  2 nights bed and breakfast, and dinner on both evenings at €120 per person – and a bottle of wine with dinner each evening.
  • Option 2:  2 nights bed and breakfast, and dinner on one evening at €95 per person – and a bottle of wine.

There you go folks…. 2 rooms available…. who’s coming?

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Since we started hosting on AirBnB we’ve come across the strangest (well to us) allergies and food dislikes.  I never knew people could be allergic to oranges?

Sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with interesting dishes that exclude ingredients that we would take for granted.  Imagine not using onions…. at all?

This past summer we had a family stay with us, where one member was allergic to dairy, egg and nuts.  Fine you say, BUT, they had a birthday during their stay.  Two adults (adult birthday), and 2 children (child allergic)…. so my challenge was to come up with a cake that everyone could eat and enjoy.

God bless ‘google’.

Dairy and egg free chocolate cake

Dairy and egg free chocolate cake

This cake then became a life saver again last week, when I was asked to bring dessert to a house with a similar allergy problem.  I think, but am not sure, that this would also actually qualify as ‘vegan’… maybe someone out there could tell me?

The amounts are a little odd, as the original recipe from Allrecipes in Australia was in cups.  So here’s my translation.

Ingredients:

  • 375 gr organic flour
  • 440 gr sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps Bread Soda
  • 50 gr Green & Blacks cocoa
  • 190 ml Sunflower Oil
  • 2 tblsps White Vinegar
  • 2 tsps Vanilla Essence
  • 500 ml Cold Water

Method:

Heat oven to 180 deg. Centigrade.

Line a 30 cm cake tin with parchment paper

Sieve the dry ingredients together.  Make 3 wells in the mixture, adding oil, vinegar and vanilla essence into separate wells.

Add water and mix really well.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes.

I iced the finished cake with a sugar and lemon juice mix…. literally mixing icing sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice together until I had the right consistency.

We’re not big chocolate cake fans here… but this has been a hit with us and everyone we served it to.

Enjoy!

 

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Oh I was so very organised yesterday.  I was really.

We had an AirBnB guest arriving, but I started the day way ahead on the preparations.  I even had time to stop and have coffee and a chat with a neighbour. Things were still okay….. I usually aim to have the house ready by 2 pm… giving us time to have a shower, and deal with anything else that might happen before a 4 pm arrival.

By 3 pm…  a bit behind schedule, but hey, I’m organised and everything is okay, I finally get to the shower.  Clean clothes on… time for some quick checking of emails, etc.

Our guest had messaged that he would be with us before dark.

Alfie gets into shower about 4.30 pm.

By 5 pm…. all hell had broken out!  Why do these things happen when you have clean clothes on???

The dogs started barking furiously.  I thought it was our guest arriving.

No. No. No.  Silly me.

I looked out the window to see our pigs in our neighbours field.  Aaargh!  This is taking ‘free range pork‘ to a whole new level.

Quick donning of wellies, grab a feed bucket and try to tempt them back to our side of the fence.  Of course they were having none of it…. they’d just broken out via the orchard so had bellies full of apples.

An hour and a half later – mist falling, darkness falling and by the way, there is no time for a toilet break…. and yes, I really needed to go – we had to abandoned all attempts to get them back.  We’d managed to tempt Ginger back.  She ate some grain while we continued to tried to convince Perky to return to the fold.  Then Ginger decided it was much more fun to join Perky running about with cattle.

Seriously pigs are the worst!

Scheming pigs

Scheming pigs

By 6.30…. shopping still had to be done, dinner still had to be cooked, and guest had not arrived yet (strange).

At 7 pm…. I get a message while in supermarket…. I am at Lissatunny and cannot find you.  Well, that’s not surprising as it is 45 minutes south of us!!!!

Many phone calls later, and a meet up in the village and our guest finally got here at about 8 pm.

Oh, and the nice clean clothes I’d put on a few hours earlier were filthy!!!!

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Summer 2016 has been our third summer of hosting on AirBnB, and has, in fact, been quite different to previous years.

Our guests have typically been mainly from the USA, however, this year our guests were mostly European – mostly either German or English.

our home

We did have a chat with those US guests who did come to stay, about ‘why’ Americans weren’t travelling.  We thought it might be because of the election. However, they said that a lot of Americans are worried about terrorist attacks in Europe and this is why they are not travelling.  We haven’t had the chance to travel this year, but I do wonder do Irish people consider terrorist attacks when travelling in Europe?

Perhaps one of the most interesting conversations I had with guests was based around food!  Are you surprised?

The conversation is particularly pertinent when you read the results of a survey carried out by Failte Ireland:

Developed in partnership with Fáilte Ireland the newly published research examines the perceptions of over 2,500 travellers in ten countries including Ireland. The research also showed that food is now an essential part of the overall visitor experience with 93% of those surveyed reported participating in a food activity on a recent trip. This tells us that the pursuit of a unique and memorable experience is on the rise. While 66% of holidaymakers rated food as important in their overall experience of Ireland this increased to almost one in four (78%) amongst food travellers.

Well guys if food is ‘part of the overall experience’ we, as a nation, need to step up to the plate quite a bit to cater for vegetarians!  Yes, can you believe it, here I am living on a farm where we produce free range pork products and I am asking the Irish nation to improve their vegetarian offerings.

Our guests, a young German couple with their 4 year old son, spent a fortnight travelling around Ireland, staying in B&B’s and eating out.  (Yes, it does surprise us that vegetarians choose to stay with us.)  When I asked what was the vegetarian ‘choice’ like on their travels …. the answer….. soup, pasta or chips.

Come on folks, you can do better than this.

For dinner I made Parmigiana with our own aubergines which they totally enjoyed. My homemade granola and our own eggs for breakfast the next morning were also a big hit.  It was the first time they had been offered eggs for breakfast.

I don’t have a huge repertoire of vegetarian options…. but I can certainly do better than soup, pasta or chips!  I am sure others could to.

 

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Continuing with how busy this summer has been….

Despite a very slow start on our bookings via AirBnB, once May arrived bookings started to come quick and fast.  And, in fact, kept coming right through to last week.

Now all has gone quiet, but hopefully it will pick up again.

In previous years our guests have been predominantly from US and Canada, but this year visitors have been mainly from Europe, with the occasional Australian or American thrown in too.

Initially I thought that maybe Americans were not travelling because it is an election year, but having discussed it with those who did visit, it seems Americans are afraid of terrorism attacks in Europe.

Isn’t it strange how perspectives can be so diverse?  From here looking on, we’d probably think going to a nightclub or a shopping mall in US could be more dangerous than visiting a city in Europe.  As I say, all about perspective.

As always we have met such lovely people.  Sometimes within minutes of people arriving you feel like you’ve just met an ‘old friend’.  We’ve had some great evenings of chat and banter sitting around the kitchen table.

Friday night guests are usually treated to a visit to Lorrha GAA Club for the social dancing… always a great night…. sometimes a bit of a culture shock for guests.

Thank you so much to all the lovely guests who took time out of their vacation, or the busy lives when they got home to post reviews…. they are very much appreciated.  This one from an Irish guest won our hearts though.

Guest review

Guest review

As bookings were so slow to come in via AirBnB – which has more to do with North Tipperary not being a ‘tourist destination’ than anything else – we decided to look at some of the other platforms out there.  Did you know that there are so many?

We recently had our first booking via Homestay.  I had forgotten that we had even registered on there back in 2013!  It has taken 3 years for us to get a booking… however, it was worth the wait, again we met a lovely couple from Ballymena.

Other platforms include TripAdviser, Wimdu and Flipkey.

Have you ever used any of these platforms?  Which are your favourites?

And, as always, we’d be forever grateful if you can share or recommend us to travelling family and friends.

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life just gets in the way!

I do feel the blog has been so neglected lately.  However, when I stop and think I don’t know where I found time to write before.  Do you ever feel you are living on a merry-go-round?  I seem to just be jumping from one thing to the other, and at times, feel that absolutely nothing has been achieved.

Having said all that, since I last wrote about Harry’s demise, we have been busy.

We’ve got a new pup.  He’s 3 months old!!  I’d forgotten about the chewing, the peeing, the boundless energy.  It was probably just as well I’d forgotten as we’d probably not have agreed to have one.  He is a pet though, and he is helping Winnie get over the loss of her brother.  Ross has been with us three weeks…. and he now knows two words…. his name and ‘NO!’

Ross - a setter/black retriever cross

Ross – a setter/black retriever cross

The weather has been absolutely amazing for the time of year.  Three weeks of sunshine with temperatures up to 25 degrees C!!!  We didn’t know what to do with ourselves…. and then the rain returned with a vengeance.

We’ve had a busy few weeks with AirBnB guests.  Once again meeting lovely people from US, Switzerland, Germany, England and Ireland.  In fact the next couple of weeks are going to be really really busy with guests which is great…. but there is still room for more 🙂

We did manage to take a day off and take a trip up to Bloom (the major Irish Garden and Food Show).

I'd be happy if my garden looked like this.

I’d be happy if my garden looked like this.

This was the most ‘realistic’ garden of all.

A tribute to the 1916 Rising

A tribute to the 1916 Rising

I loved the wild abandon of the flowers and colours in this garden.

Other news…. our muscovy duck, Mollie, is sitting on eggs, and one of our hens, Mona, is sitting on eggs too… so fingers and toes crossed for lots of cute baby chicks and ducks soon.

The polytunnel despite bouts of neglect is coming along nicely.  We are now harvesting strawberries, herbs and courgettes.

The outside vegetable garden is growing well…. the past two days of rain is really encouraging the weeds though.

I’ve been experimenting with some new recipes too which I hope to share with you soon.  I promise!

How’s life with you?

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