Monday, July 28, 2014

Our AirBnB 'Hosting' experience

I first heard about Airbnb several months ago - from people who had travelled and used the service as a way to find accommodation. I was intrigued but I had no cause to book any accommodation at the time. 
(if you want to sign up and book through Airbnb check out my code to save you $27 at the bottom of the post)

According to their website;

Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone.

Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

Then Chris and I got to thinking. We have a beautiful house which is generously sized for 2 people and a basement with 2 spare bedrooms that are rarely ever used. It seemed the perfect idea to sign up to Host on Airbnb.

A couple more months went by and procrastination was our houseguest so nothing happened. Then in June we eventually jiggled some furniture around to make the main room a little more attractive (read: photo-genic!) and functional for guests and then pulled out the wide angle lens for the camera and snapped some photos. I spent a couple of hours creating our profile online and writing a full and detailed description of the space we had available to rent. Details about the room, the space and amenities guests have access to, the neighbourhood & surrounding area, public transit options, house rules, and the level of interaction hosts have with guests.

Within 2 hours of listing our space we had our first booking! Then the next day another one for that very evening! It was an exciting start!

It's been an awesome way to maximise space in our home that was sadly under-utilized and meet new people. Meli has been in her element as chief guest-greeter and is making BFF's every time someone new shows up! We've had guests from Alberta, Hungary, France and of course BC. Airbnb seems like a no-brainer option compared to staying in a grotty motel - it's more personal and usually a lot nicer accommodations plus typically cheaper. For us it's great to be able to offer travellers that option and we make some cash to boot!

Guests make a booking through the Airbnb system either on the website or the Airbnb phone app. The booking comes through to us as hosts to accept or decline....although there is a calendar visible which we keep up-to-date as best we can it still gives us an opportunity to make the final decision. Once accepted the guest then pays Airbnb straight away (with a small admin fee added). As hosts we get the confirmation of booking and then sit tight waiting for the guest to arrive. We receive payment (minus a small admin fee) 24 hours after the guest checks-in and we have chosen to receive our payouts via Paypal which are pretty much instantaneous. After a stay is completed there is a review process for both guest and host - so right now we're working at building a good review base.

I now want to be on the 'other end of things' so to speak - I'm excited to stay in some of these beautiful listings - I'll have to plan a trip just so I can book through Airbnb!! Just browse the website listings - there are so many funky places to stay - in retro trailers, castlesigloos, a shipping container, a teepee, a lighthouse or a treehouse. Our listing is a bit 'plain-jane' compared to those but we've had great feedback from our guests and we don't want all out funky all the time, right?!?! It's just a nice comfortable guest suite....

If you'd like to try Airbnb for yourself then I can save you $27 off your first stay....use this referral link to sign up...if you're on a phone and it prompts you for a code then use hmills3
(I also get referral credit if you sign up and make a stay or sign up to host!)... Happy Travels!

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