Delight your guests by delivering the unexpected—with J.T. McKay (Ep414)

If you want your guests to delight YOU with five-star reviews, return visits and referrals, then you need to delight them first by delivering the unexpected.

But what, exactly, does that look like? How can Airbnb hosts WOW their guests in every step of the short-term rental journey?

J.T. McKay is the author of Airbnb on Autopilot: Save Time and Boost Profits for Your Vacation Rental. J.T. has been investing in real estate for over 25 years, and he currently operates 10 vacation rental units in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

On this episode of Get Paid for Your Pad, J.T. joins me to discuss how to delight your Airbnb guests by delivering the unexpected, beginning with becoming a story-seller in your listing.

J.T. offers advice on building a personal connection through your house manual and automating guest messaging with authenticity.

Listen in for J.T.’s insight on WOW-ing your guests during their stay with selfie props, QR codes and V.I.G. (Very Important Guest) discounts to local restaurants and attractions!

Topics Covered

What makes Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge a popular STR market

  • ‘Vegas for families’ (amusement parks, dinner theatre, etc.)
  • Attracts outdoor enthusiasts for hiking and fishing

How to delight prospective guests with your Airbnb listing

  • Become story-seller and make future guest hero
  • Shows respect for space, attracts idea guest

How to delight your guests through your house manual

  • Include information about YOU to build personal connection
  • Infuse with personality and fun, pay attention to design 
  • Share restaurant recommendations and area info 
  • Shoot short how-to videos (e.g.: electronic lock, thermostat)

How to automate guest messaging with authenticity

  • Send first morning check-in message
  • Use customization tags (include guest name)
  • Consider recording custom welcome videos

J.T.’s tips for delighting your guests once they’re in your unit

  • Provide basket of selfie props, incentivize sharing on social
  • Leverage QR codes for connecting with info quickly
  • Offer USB charging outlets and Bluetooth speakers
  • Share V.I.G. discounts to local restaurants and attractions
  • Give away free swag (i.e.: mugs, pens, cookbook PDF)

Connect with J.T.

J.T.’s Website 

Airbnb on Autopilot: Save Time and Boost Profits for Your Vacation Rental by J. T. McKay 




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  1. I THINK I heard on the podcast that you had developed a slack alternative. Is there any possibility of this becoming a product? I would like to try something like this for my company.

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