Vancouver Island’s Airbnb host ranked # 1 in the province – Ladysmith Chronicle
A bed and breakfast owner Sooke was surprised to learn that he had received the top prize for the most welcoming hosts in British Columbia by Airbnb.
Former Saanich Peninsula resident Gerry Esselink moved to Sooke five years ago and has been running Sooke Cedar House on Sooke Road since 2018.
“To be named BC’s Most Hospitable Host by Airbnb was both an honor and, frankly, a big surprise as it wasn’t something we followed,” Esselink said.
The criteria for the price were cleanliness, registration and communications. Guests also rated the hosts on accuracy, location, and value. The award was based on online reviews and was presented in each province.
In addition to being # 1 in British Columbia, Esselink hit the 100% standard with 198 reviews – the most guest reviews of any host in Canada. A total of 147 hosts in Canada met the 100 percent standard.
“Once I confirmed with the promotions manager at Airbnb that they had the right fit, I felt a bit of pride, but also a bit of sadness because I lost my wife to cancer just by the time COVID emerged in early 2020, ”Esselink said. “Debbie was an important part of the Sooke Cedar House.”
Guests of Sooke Cedar House stay in either the Aletheia or Everett Suites, named after two of Esselink’s grandchildren.
The property, known to locals for years as Hartmann House, is nestled off Sooke Road and overlooks English gardens with fountains, arbors and ponds.
Esselink said that the success of Sooke Cedar House can be broken down into four steps: finding a beautiful setting, providing a relaxing and comfortable place to stay, anticipating and meeting guest needs, and finding a reputable vacation rental provider.
“It’s just about taking care of your guests,” said Esselink, a retired pastor.