One of Airbnb’s core brand attributes (as marketing folks like to call it) is stories. Stories of the enriching local experiences guests recount about their trip to family and friends. As well as stories about how people from all walks of life become Airbnb hosts, and stories of guests and hosts who (for the majority of Airbnb stays – over 85%) are sharing a home together for a reason and sometimes even a season.
The Airbnb experience for both guest and host is quite unlike anything either has ever experienced. After all, neither are friends, or family, and neither is sleeping in a hotel, or even a bed & breakfast. They are strangers, who are suddenly sharing a rather intimate situation. This thought accounts for why hosts and guests often report that they are nervous when they begin their Airbnb experience. Hosts feel particularly vulnerable because they are opening their homes to people they have never met and know very little about, and guests feel nervous about what they worry might be an uncomfortable (or worse), a potentially unpleasant experience.
The reality is, the almighty buck drives them both together. The host, who in more cases than not is in need of the funds to make ends meet – and the guest, who might not be able to make the trip at all had it not been for the affordability of Airbnb. So this is how the story begins, but certainly not where it ends.
The stories are endless and I honestly don’t even know where to begin to express who incredible they all are. So incredible that 3 months after becoming and Airbnb host, I appointed myself “The Airbnb Expert” and began a journey that has given me so much,and shows the promise of enriching me in ways I am not sure I can fully fathom right now. That fear (the one that goes beyond the nervousness) is a funny thing though. We all seem to share it. It’s kind of an unspoken with Airbnb hosts and guests, but it seems to be a bit of a thread that binds us all.
THE CITY OF DREAMS
My Airbnb is located in Los Angeles, California. They don’t call it the “City Of Dreams” for nothin.” Many of my guests arrive with more than a bag packed full of clothes – they come with a heart packed full of hopes and desires. In less than one year as a host, my Airbnb has served as a supportive and comfortable launch pad for dozens of mostly young women who come from all over the world to fulfill their dreams – either from the chance to dance in some of the many world-class dance studios located in walking distance from my home, or from finding a job in the entertainment industry as videographers, writers, actors, journalists, the list goes on to include countless types of internships.
I am in awe of these young guests who often fly thousands of miles to a big city they’ve never been to before, and stay in a strangers home (many of whom are doing so for the first time). They are usually traveling with the only money they have (and if they are lucky a little help from their parents). Each day these young Airbnb guests venture out to dance, audition, interview, meet with potential employers, as well as hit the beach, hike the mountains and experience the neighborhood with newfound friends.
With each new guest, we hosts almost hold our breath hoping our new “check in” will be someone we will enjoy having in our home. I think the biggest shock about being an Airbnb host is how much it restored my faith in humanity. After having over 50 stays in less than a year, I am astonished and the number of delightful guests I have had the privilege of hosting. Each time it’s like going out on stage, with a nervousness that lasts until the curtain goes up and then we become the thing that we find truly rewarding.
EVERYONE HAS A STORY
I celebrate each and every guest’s visit. I share in the joy of mom’s who stay with me to visit their child(ren), who usually live in the area but don’t have the room (or sometimes the desire) to accommodate their mom’s in their own homes. As a mother I know the delight of having the chance to spend time with an adult child that I have not seen in months, because the child has moved away. I share in the excitement of young guest who has been dancing since childhood who is auditioning to be a dancer for a huge music star, knowing that If she gets the job she’ll be traveling all over the world, doing what she loves, to the sound of a cheering audience. I can’t tell you the pleasure it gives me to provide a maternal level of encouragement as they go off to win their spot in the spotlight. Each night before they are home, I check their room, straighten just a few things with a loving touch and light a lovely smelling candle in their room to welcome them home. In fact, as write this blog, one young lady just walked in the door from her first day of assisting a sought after director on a music video that could turn into a full-time job and be the catalyst for a full-time move to LA.
And then there are the host stories. The stories of the divorcees living in silent homes after her husband left, struggling to make ends meet. With Airbnb she not only does have life in her home again, she feels appreciated and the proud to be paying her bills thanks to Airbnb. Not to mention relieved that she no long needs to worry about having to go without. Or the couple who use their Airbnb earnings to help pay for their child’s college, where they otherwise may not be able. Or the guy who lost his job and thanks to being an Airbnb host he is able to keep paying the mortgage. Or the entrepreneur who can start a new business thanks to the extra funds earned. Airbnb host stories are as heartfelt as they are numerous. I am but one in over 640,000 hosts located in over 150 countries around the world, with over 50 million guest profiles that are predicted to rise to 80 million by the end of 2016! Imagine all the amazing stories there are?
After three months of being an Airbnb host, I proudly achieved SuperHost status. As I near my one year anniversary with Airbnb, there is so much I want to say about Airbnb and so many ways I want to help people get the most from their Airbnb experience. I certainly won’t be short of things to say in my blogs and on my social media and I hope you find them helpful.
SHARE YOUR AIRBNB STORY
I invite you to follow my social media for helpful tips and updates about Airbnb and I welcome you to click HERE to share your your own unique and enriching Airbnb experience(s), along with any tip suggestions.
I came up with a tagline that I think speaks to the core of my feelings about Airbnb: “Life’s Better With Airbnb.” In so many ways this is so true and I am deeply grateful to be a part of this global community.