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Do you remember your first time staying in an airbnb or hearing about it and deciding to become a host? I’ve stayed in 5 Airbnb’s this year and they were all great experiences. Other than not sharing spaces with the host they were all different from one another. They reminded me of how cool this concept is and how thankful I am the concept took off.
My first Airbnb was shared home in Tempe, AZ and was pretty mundane but my second one was a fantastic stay that I loved in a shared home in Hilo, HI. I was smitten and started plotting to have my own Airbnb after that.
Technically I’m still an Airbnb virgin. I’ve stayed in VRBO and Booking dot com listings that were also offered on Airbnb, and I stayed in my own listing before I actually listed it. Planning my first time for Kauai in March.
Was your first guest exciting for you? Someone posted here about the adrenaline rush of hearing the app ping when a booking came in. Sure, it seems corny but I think most of us have felt that. Or the pure pleasure of a really great guest. And even after a bad experience along comes a nice guest that makes it all seem worthwhile.
My sister and brother-in-law stayed in Airbnbs before we’d even heard of it. They knew my husband and I were retiring from our photography business and wanted another business venture to run together.
My sister talked to a host in Kentucky, where they had stayed two or three times—a single woman with a large house out in the country. My sister asked if we could talk to this host before we got started. The host was very gracious. We talked to her for about an hour. She had only great experiences to tell us.
Based on her information and all the research we did, we got started about six or eight months later. We thought maybe we’d get one guest, one night a week. We didn’t expect to need to open up a second room and bath. And we certainly didn’t expect to have months with 80% occupancy in both rooms.
Nor did we expect to love hosting as much as we do. My husband and I are introverts; the prospect of having strangers in our home was daunting.
We’ve had marvelous guests and made many friends. We have lots of “regulars.” And we are the guest rooms for our neighborhood. The neighbors love that we do this.
During our first two years as hosts, we stayed twice at the home of the host we talked to in Kentucky and once at an Airbnb in Washington state. All excellent experiences.
My mother told me about Airbnb years and years ago, but I never expected to be running one. Yet here I am, learning as I go. We’ve had more ups than downs and I consider it a great decision on our part (at least so far!)
I’m actually staying in my first one as a guest as I write it. It is a set up much like our own, so it is interesting to compare.
I think my favorite part of hosting is meeting new people / experiences - even though we are remote hosts I’ve become an elopement planner of sorts. I love hearing those stories! And, so far, my favorite part of being a guest is having my own space, kitchen, etc - for about the cost of a hotel in these parts but much better!
I like the ABB, VRBO model, and we stayed in VRBOs or with prop/mngrs many times before setting out on our journey. It allows for our family to vacation, have an affordable meal, and spend time together/apart as we wish. I don’t even like hotels anymore!
Before Airbnb I looked for B and B type places using books like Frommer’s. I recall when I told my friend that the owner of the Salzburg B&B would be picking us up in a BMW, she couldn’t believe it. I found small self contained apartments using an internet search in NYC and Krakow. Or I would look for small locally owned hotels so I could avoid the chains. But what Airbnb did (of course the internet, smart phone and sharing economy are all part of it) was make it possible for many more people to become short term hosts and guests in people’s homes.
In the 1990s, I looked for a quiet inn or B&B along the Atlantic coast of the US. I was writing a novel and wanted the perfect place to work. The internet didn’t have a lot to offer then. I got guide books from the library and made a LOT of phone calls, starting with places in Savannah GA. I had criteria to meet, and no place met them. I worked up the US coast, city by city. Then into Canada.
I ended up in a lovely apartment for three weeks in St Johns, Newfoundland.
It would have been SO much easier with a vibrant internet and Airbnb!
Back in the 80s to mid 90s it seems the problem with the guide books is that restaurants and inns paid off the writers. I ate in and stayed in a few places that weren’t anywhere as nice as Frommer’s told me they were. Steve…uh what was his name…was better. He was funny and I liked his attitude. But as flawed as the review system is on Airbnb I’ve had fantastic results with Airbnb compared to the old way.
A lovely little house in the countryside that accepted dogs, as my two large dogs travelled with me to go to my Grandfather’s funeral at Arlington. We also stayed in a dog friendly Airbnb condo on the same trip.
Why I decided to list on Airbnb:
Two reasons. I realized that the first little house we stayed at was very similar to the property I owned back home, three bedrooms and one bath. I had never even considered putting it on Airbnb before this. Second, I so enjoyed having the dogs with me in such comfortable surroundings, so much better than a hotel, that I wanted to give back by offering the same to other pet owners. Cheesy I know but true.
How I found the forum:
Searching via DuckDuckGo for answers to my questions as I did pre-decision research, this forum kept coming up at the tops of searches. I loved the breadth of experiences and respectful dialogue between many different types of hosts.
My first Airbnb guests:
After I listed my home, I anxiously toted my phone around everywhere, constantly checking for emails or messages. I checked and doublechecked my listing, had friends and family search for it, tweaked pictures and adjusted descriptions. Finally I had my first guest inquiry, asking for a single night for three nursing students. Within the first 24 hours I had three stays booked. I slept with the phone on my nightstand and checked it every time I woke up in the night.
My first guests were fantastic! Three lovely ladies that commute in once a week for college classes. I watched them check in through the camera and nervously waited for them to leave so I could go over and check the house. They left it in perfect shape and have since become regulars!
I was lucky that all of my first guests were really stellar, I imagine that having a few bad guests right at first could sour a new host on Airbnb pretty fast. I am still enjoying myself, and don’t worry as much about guests taking care of my home.
…I wanted to add that I have no doubt that my good experiences were the result of all the excellent advice I gleaned from this forum. Again, thank you all.
I think these two things are related. Most of the time people land here looking to vent or solve a problem that already exists. Many hosts are very obviously clueless. They thought Airbnb would be easy money and they didn’t even read the policies. And those are the hosts that the scammers look to prey upon. But it works out in the long run: survival of the fittest.
I started hosting a guest bedroom and private bath in my home and in a 3BR/2BA house that was COMPLETELY EMPTY save a queen bed I put in the master bedroom in order to list it. It had been on the LTR market and I was getting flakey applicants for several months and I couldn’t find a sufficient tenant. Slowly increased the furniture and amenities after each booking. Discovered a weak flooring section by a vent in the master bedroom and turned the master suite into storage so now use the house as a 2BR/1BA. I’m constantly improving as I go.
My first guest experience was while on an East Coast trip, south of DC. It advertised a GORGEOUS “Speakeasy” basement conversion. There were two listings, each for a private bedroom and a shared bath. I booked each room, one while heading north and the other while heading south on the return trip. Never once got to see the Speakeasy! Also never got the advertised breakfast that was supposed to be served like 9-10 am if I remember correctly. The shared tub was ssoooo gross it literally looked like it hadn’t even been attempted to be cleaned in months! I was never able to meet the host although it said we would. The porch light blazed into the second bedroom that had doily like “curtains” that I finally had to turn off at 1/2am because I couldn’t sleep and he still hadn’t made it home. He advertised kitchen utensils and then had 1 fork and 1 knife. (For what could be 4 guest and he and his girlfriend in the house. I had to share it with my boyfriend and had to wash from last guest’s use.
His review of me was that he never had a guest ask so many questions. No kidding, becuEe your listing was not as described in Soooo many ways I had to ask things repeatedly. In the end I decided to give him another chance, thinking that he would implement cleaning and he then established hours by appointment only for the Speakeasy and removed the breakfast from the amenity list. He declined me which is fine because I started trying new places and learned so much more for my own listings.
I knew I wanted to build Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway and do Airbnb before ever staying in an Air. Our first Airbnb 6-8-16 was in New Orleans / Algiers Point when we went down there to buy Gypsy the Spartan Manor!
It was a real cute 1 side of shotgun house, we let ourselves in, the host had given us info about the neighborhood. He came visiting through the back door holding his baby and with his pooches, one of which proceeded to the coffee table to eat our cheese and crackers.
It turns out we knew a bunch of the same people in the small town where I grew up in Norcal!! We have yet to go to an Airbnb again, but are looking forward to more traveling. Both of us have lots of international travel in our past lives<>
Our first guests 1-20-19 were a fabulous couple from Minneapolis. They stayed 3 nights and spent much time at their friends house nearby. They really liked us and our creation, even though the pretty outside bed was all tarped up for winter. It was good to start slowly, with all the advice found here, and now seems like the summer was a blur of guests.
Our first guest experience was in New Orleans. We Stayed in an adorable private guest suite with kind and informative hosts. It was a wonderful experience, but we had no aspirations to be hosts ourselves at that time. It did leave us with a positive vibe about Airbnb though.
My first hosting experience was just last April. What I remember the most was the panicked, yet excited feeling I got when my phone dinged with the special Airbnb notification. I’m pretty sure I sat staring at my phone for a solid 3 minutes wondering what the heck do I do now?
That ding still gets me excited, but sends my husband into fits of anxiety because they only ever seem to come right before or in the middle of us performing. I’ve learned to silence my phone and always check it when we go on break. This summer it became a bit of a joke. We’d drive 5-7 hours to get to our next gig, spend 2 hours setting up and 1 minute before showtime “ding”. Ha!
Our first Airbnb stay was in September 2017. We’d moved in to a house that July that had an attached ‘granny annexe’. We knew we wanted to let it out as a holiday home, so we went to a property with a similar set up for research purposes.
We did other research about facilities and amenities on Airbnb before listing the accomodation in mid-December 2017. We were very excited to quickly get our first booking - for a stay a couple days after Christmas.
Lots of tweaking leading up to the first hosting. We were really anxious when they first checked in to know what they were thinking. There was a funny/awkward moment minutes after check-in, hearing through the common doorway “… ooh, look at the size of the shower. We will have fun in that later!”.
It went really well and the guests loved it. The shower must have helped.