No Way Jose’
We have some close friend’s that are super-hosts on Airbnb. They live in the historic district with us here in Summerville, they have 35+ 5-star reviews, and have a beautiful historic home to host in. For the past few months, they have tried to convince us to host with Airbnb. They think we have a great setup for it, and we would be perfect for it. We actually get told all the time from people visiting the house to buy my furniture that they thought we were already an actual Bed and Breakfast or business. We always have to say, “nope this is our home, we live here, just the 2 of us”, LOL. So we have been completely against it, no way would we want strangers in our home. I thought Airbnb was the weirdest thing I had ever heard of, absolutely not!!!
If you haven’t heard of Airbnb, it is basically a website where you can list your home, a bedroom, or even a couch for someone to rent from you to sleep for the night. You are essentially offering a hotel room/bed and breakfast, for a limited amount of time, on your schedule, and at your rate. Our first thoughts were, how safe is this? Complete strangers coming into your home and staying the night sounds fishy, right? And right away we said nope not for us…
Once in a Lifetime
Well if you may recall, the United States was having a once in lifetime phenomenon occurring and the main event, the last place you could see it, was here in Charleston, I am talking about the solar eclipse. Charleston’s hotels were booked and sold out months to a year in advance, every store was selling out of glasses and t-shirts, and we were to have somewhere between 1-2 million extra visitors for it. It was turning into a major tourist attraction, and with that came a need for more places to stay. Apparently, they were becoming hard to find and more expensive than normal because it was similar to holiday weekend rates, and even Airbnb’s were scarce. Our friends were booked months in advance also, and they brought up to us once again that we should give it a try, just for the eclipse weekend, make some extra money, and see how we feel about it after.
Reviews are Everything
So I looked into it a little more, asked them lots of questions, and it wasn’t as scary as I initially thought. Airbnb basically runs on reviews. The host leaves a review of their guest, and the guest leaves a review on their host. The reviews are verified, the person is verified by ID, address, phone, email, social media accounts, credit card, etc. They make it this way so if you have a potential guest wanting to book with you, but they have a 2-star review saying they are messy, sketchy, or rude, you just deny their booking. And the opposite is true as well, if the host has a bad review of dirty bathrooms and unwashed sheets, you don’t stay there! Pretty simple right? So we got comfortable with the idea, kind of, and went for it.
So what about us first timers? We don’t have any reviews yet, how can we get someone to take the chance to stay with us? Well, we made our listing as desirable as possible, had lots of pictures, and described our home as best as we could, crazy mini-farm and all! Another big tip is to have your first booking be discounted, to give them an incentive to stay with you. And then we got our first booking for the eclipse weekend! Our guest was a young woman from New York City coming down to see the eclipse with 3 of her friends. They needed a last minute place to stay, and they loved our listing. I looked at her reviews, she had one, and it was pleasant, I looked at her pictures, she seemed nice. I also messaged her back and forth for a bit to get to know her. I felt more comfortable knowing now who she was.
Check in day came, and I was so nervous. I made sure their rooms were squeaky clean, especially the bathroom, and I knew I did all I could to make everything easy for them. I had out clean towels and wash cloths, a lint roller, water bottles, a couple snacks, wifi passwords, and extra toiletries. Once I met them, I felt so much better, they were so sweet and polite, loved the house, and were really happy they chose us for the trip. Their first breakfast with us was on a Sunday, so I wanted to treat them to a Sunday brunch. To feed your guests breakfast with Airbnb isn’t “required”, but it’s nice. Some people do simple muffins or cereal, but I did a whole spread! We have a formal dining room, why not use it ya know?? I made them an avocado eggs benedict, fresh fruit, and homemade popovers with strawberry honey butter. I set out coffee, tea, orange juice, and cucumber water also. I let them enjoy their breakfast and then they wanted to meet the farm animals, which they seemed to love. After, off they went for the day, they didn’t come back until late that night after we went to bed. So day 1 went great!
The next morning I made them a homemade french toast with fresh fruit and hard boiled eggs. They asked me to eat breakfast with them, which was sweet! I got to get to know them a little, and they had nothing but nice things to say and thanked me for everything, they even made me a handmade eclipse viewer, so cute! They checked out, and left me a 5-star review! They were kind enough to strip the beds for me, and put their towels in the pile with the sheets. They kept everything in the rooms very clean, and I couldn’t have asked for better guests, especially for our first time!
Will We Do It Again?
Overall our first time hosting with Airbnb went perfectly. I think I was more stressed preparing for it than when they were actually here, but that is my personality, I worry and stress, I’m definitely a control-freak. I think that is why taking the chance on this would be good for us though, to get us out of our comfort zone, meet new people, learn new things, and make some extra money doing it. We have decided we are going to take on more reservations through Airbnb, if you or someone you know would like to stay with us, or if you’re just curious about what our listing looks like, you can check it out here: click here
Also, a shout out to our friends who talked us into this craziness, love you, here is their Airbnb listing as well if you’re interested: click here
Our Advice to Those on the Fence
We were obviously super doubtful of the whole idea before we even gave it a chance. And although I am still nervous about having strangers in our home, and I am sure we will get some weirdo at some point, I am happy we tried it. My advice would be to give it a chance, if you don’t like it, delete your listing. If you’re nervous about being judged or critiqued in reviews, like I am, then make sure you have everything as clean as possible, and do some extra nice things for them, go that extra mile to make it special. If nothing else, this is an opportunity for you if you have a home, to make some extra money on something you already have…
Mahalo for Reading!
Have you ever hosted or been a guest for Airbnb? What was your experience like?