It was April 2016, (anything pre 2020 seems like eons ago) a hot summer day in Abu Dhabi (just like most other days), and I was discussing with my father what could be done with our property in Kotagiri, a sought after hill station in the southern part of India.
I had vaguely heard about Airbnb, not paying much attention to it. It was only once I started having these conversations that I did my homework and found out all about it and how fitting of an option it would be to us. After hours of brainstorming, following up, checking government regulations, equipping the house with all the necessary amenities, we opened KMR Villa as a Bed & Breakfast to the public. Getting straight to it: it was the most life changing decision for me in terms of my profession and career path, and definitely a very encouraging decision for our house and family!
What is an Airbnb?
In 2008, during the Industrial Design Conference which was being held in San Fransisco, a number of attendees were finding it nearly impossible to book a place to stay. During this time, three roommates had already been brewing something that would later disrupt the hospitality industry and the way we travel.
Brian Chesky (CEO), Joe Gebbia (CPO) and Nathan Blecharczyk (CTO) worked on a website and set out some air mattresses in their apartment in SFO to start hosting people during the conference. This was a great way to meet their own rent and launch their business. What followed was Air Bed & Breakfast, and as we know today, Airbnb. It is a platform that allows individuals/groups (hosts) to rent out their space – be it a sofa in the living room or a lavish penthouse. It charges a nominal fee from both parties on per booking basis. Airbnb became popular for it’s authentic and local experiences and a homely feeling for travelers combined with budget friendly stays. It gave new meaning to shared economy – with millions of hosts providing home stays for millions of guests from across the world.
How does one become a Host?
The Airbnb website is an extremely user friendly one, and anyone with space/property to share with travelers can become a host by creating a listing.
Why become a Host?
In my personal experience, becoming a host has several advantages besides being just an additional source of income:
- The property being listed is always maintained – Hosting guests ensures that the property is always kept clean, repairs are given immediate attention and maintenance costs are met through the income generated.
- Helping guests create memories – I have always enjoyed meeting and interacting with new people, and hosting gave me the chance to provide a space for friends and families to have memorable experiences, which as a fellow traveler has been the most satisfying feeling!
- Family Business – Even though the intention of starting the B&B was to test my business skills, over the course of four years, it has unintentionally turned into a family business, with my parents being the pillars of running the B&B when I continued to host from different continents. My father is the decision maker on important issues involving the property and my mother is the creative head and the one who ensures all the inventory is in place (and pretty much everything!) This has also helped grow our bond stronger while establishing something beautiful for those who choose to stay with us!
- Career Choice – Once I started hosting, I realized my passion for hospitality and pursued a Master’s in Hospitality Leadership from Les Roches in Switzerland. This was a game changer in my professional life and I am forever grateful for it! I even ended up doing my thesis on the leadership skills that are present in Airbnb Superhosts.
- Continued source of Income – It may be odd to see this point during pandemic times, but hear me out – the pandemic may be the very reason that people will find comfort in a home environment and trust holiday home rentals. Airbnb has a very clear cleaning protocol to follow to ensure safety standards, and this helps both the hosts and the guests. This is a great time to get any repairs/fixtures done to your place and get it ready for hosting! With traveling slowly finding its roots again, this is a guaranteed reason to become a host!
I believe becoming a host is a combination of empowering and gratifying! You can make something that is long lasting which is helpful to others as well as yourself. Holiday Homes Unlimited is excited to help you embark on your own hosting journey and maybe give us even more reasons to add to the list above!