After a break-up with my partner, I ended up with a mortgage I could afford but not comfortably. The idea of a roommate didn’t appeal to me so I decided to give Airbnb a try. This is what the next two years looked like financially, some advice for new hosts and how Airbnb has impacted my life so far.
I furnished the guest bedroom at the cost of $878.00. I invested enough to keep the space friendly and inviting but didn’t splurge as I wasn’t sure I would make any of my money back. When Airbnb’s initial site was up, their on-site calculation told me I would make $0/month.
My first guest didn’t arrive until about a month in. I went out of my way to make the first two bookings feel comfortable and happy. With their glowing reviews, getting bookings afterwards wasn’t hard at all. I played around with rates all year ($65–$95) to find my sweet spot. I didn’t say no to any reservation.
Average per month—$1,120.10
I had learned a lot from the first year. Airbnb was starting to take a toll on my personal life and I wanted to reduce the impact. It was stressful balancing Airbnb along with work and my personal life.
I delayed or even cancelled plans because guests were coming into town at unknown times or the apartment had to be cleaned for my next guest. I even had an extremely stressful couple of days while on vacation in another country. I take obligations very seriously and I hate to let people down. I couldn’t let go of what was happening back home, which led to an extremely panicked person abroad.
To fix the impact, I opted for a minimum stay of 2 nights and hired a cleaner to clean after every listing. I settled on a flat rate of $80/night regardless of season and cut guests a break for staying longer in order to entice bookings with longer stays. While I make more when turnover is high, it requires much more effort on my part and I chose time over money. It didn’t end up being that bad:
August (turned out to be terrible)—$484.86
Average per month—$1,359.68
I have hosted 80+ guests from over 30+ countries (exact numbers are fuzzy now as I no longer keep track) and have maintained a 5-star rating for those two years. In addition to Airbnb, I work full-time and part-time (don’t worry, I have two jobs by choice) and lead a fairly busy personal life. Here’s what I’ve learned about hosting so far:
I tend to be conservative about what technologies I lean on however Airbnb has undeniably made a huge impact on my life. Financially, it’s given me the freedom to live my life relatively stress-free. I do not worry much about my mortgage knowing I have a fairly steady flow of guests staying.
That being said, the most important part of this has been that it has grown me on a personal level I never imagined. The travel experiences I have been able to afford due to the financial boost compounded with the guests I have met have undeniably been a big part of my personal growth over the past two years.
Taking on the hospitality industry is an ambitious plan, and so far, Airbnb has been a wonderful product for me to watch evolve. Both as a Designer who is fascinated by the social impact of technology and also as someone who is using it on a day-to-day basis. Kudos to the team!