As Airbnb continues to grow exponentially, there are more and more people trying to make a full-time living from giving advice on, “How to make money on Airbnb.” It’s no surprise to me that these money-centric Airbnb proponents (who always began as hosts themselves) quickly realized they could make even more money by selling advice to others who are also looking to “cash in” on Airbnb.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing erroneous with a desire to make money as an Airbnb host. In fact, while every Airbnb Super Host will tell you that their hosting is rewarded with more than money alone, they will also say that the main reason they became an Airbnb host was to earn extra income. Truth is, one would be hard pressed to find an Airbnb host with lots of money in the bank, who welcomes guests into their home to simply enjoy their company and the experience – unless, of course, you’re Airbnb co-founder, Brian Chesky. The vast majority of hosts need their Airbnb hosting revenue to help make ends meet. The remainder use their earnings to do things like save for a child’s university education, travel, make a large purchase, do some home renovations, etc. But there is a difference between earning additional revenue and cold-heartedly running multiple dwellings on Airbnb, which not only harms the brand, but harms the Airbnb community as a whole.
As the saying goes, “It only takes one bad apple to spoil the barrel,” and these Airbnb “operators” (I don’t think they deserve to be called “hosts”) contribute to the majority of negative press regarding Airbnb hosting – which in turn affects public opinion about Airbnb – which in turn affects government decisions about regulating Airbnb. The reality is, over 80% of all Airbnbs around the world are in what is referred to as the “hosted home” – which means that the guest space is located within the host’s primary residence, or on the host’s property (such as a guest house, or an airstream). I am a huge proponent of the hosted home because I believe that not only is it is the most enriching Airbnb experience for both guest and host, it also completely eradicates the possibility of attracting the negative press caused by an Airbnb being trashed by the delinquents (they don’t deserve to be called “guests”) during a house party, or being used to tape a pornography video. The hosted home also prevents any disturbances neighbors might experience when “guests” who have a lack of regard for others and are in a home that is “unchecked” by an Airbnb host.
If you examine the reviews of many Airbnb Super Hosts, including one of my Airbnb listings (affectionately known in my house as “The Yellow Room“) you’ll notice that the guests reference the host more than they do the Airbnb’s physical attributes. Based on my experience, I believe that Airbnb’s desire to change the way people regard travel, with their “Live There” approach, is best served in a hosted home. After all, the host not only helps to ensure that the guest is pampered and feels special, the host also provides extensive knowledge about the community one simply cannot yield in a non-hosted Airbnb.
This is not to say that I don’t support the value to both host and guest when a lovely home is offered on Airbnb while the resident is traveling. In many cases, the host’s travels are paid for entirely by the revenue they garner from their Airbnb while they are away. This kind of Airbnb experience allows the guest to truly be able to experience a community as if the Airbnb was his or her own personal home. But this particular kind of Airbnb does not equal the mercenary type run by Airbnb “Operators,” because the home is, well, a home – and not some austerely decorated hotel-like space being sold as an Airbnb but run like a hotel.
It may surprise you to know that the distinction I make between an Airbnb host and an Airbnb “operator” is based on love – and not the avaricious kind. Love is core to the Airbnb brand, and the central reasons why I am an ardent Airbnb Brand Advocate. As my favorite band The Beatles once sang, “All You Need Is Love.” Love can connect us all – as Airbnb puts it, “one stranger at a time.” Love also breaks down barriers between people from all walks of life and serves to eliminate prejudices. When one shares one’s own home with Airbnb guests, the opportunity both the host and the guest(s) have is to put more love out into the world. Most of us create our home with love, and I believe that when we share that love, we add to the love in the world. This is what I find most promising about Airbnb – the enormous potential the brand has to make the world a more loving and thus a better place for us all.
In my next blog, I’ll be going into greater detail about the harm Airbnb “operators” do to the brand and the Airbnb community, and why I am urging Airbnb to eliminate operators entirely. Until then, I hope you enjoy my host and guest tips, along with my Airbnb listing recommendations from around the world on my social media. If you have any subjects you’d like me to address on my blog, please feel free to let me know.