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Like many of my fellow Airbnb hosts, I feel like I fell into the position-- much like Alice through the rabbit hole... but less trippy and dangerous. Personally, I always find it so interesting how hosts first learned out the Airbnb phenomena and what drove them to allow strangers into their home. The stories you will hear, range far and wide.
My story still surprises me, but I'm living it and it makes me happy. I have always been interested in having my own bed and breakfast since staying in one as a child with my family. I don't exactly remember where it was, but it honestly doesn't matter. What does matter, is the lasting impression it made: I felt like we were staying in someone's house. There were books and art everywhere. It was extremely eclectic and not to everyone's taste. But I loved it-- the house had a slightly weird flair. There was a great outdoor space and the hosts served us breakfast on a array of mix and match antique china.
Fast forward to present day, the practical side of me sees the downfall of having a genuine bed and breakfast. You always need to be open and you always need to be there. You don't get to choose who you rent your rooms out to. To me, I feel this situation ties your hands in a very undesirable way. Most bed and breakfast owners are unable to afford to hire additional help, therefore they are doing everything.
I was introduced to Airbnb years ago, but only became a host over a year ago. I was in the process if taking the humungous leap to becoming location independent with my partner. I had an office job and that could not be done remotely. Therefore I was essentially scrambling to figure out how I could make money on the road or from anywhere in the world. I was in a bit of a pickle.
I wish I could remember what or who exactly planted the seed of becoming an Airbnb host is my brain, because today I would send them a huge thank you fruit basket. I realized the house I rented in any location in the world is a huge asset, and one that I could use to my full advantage. I realized I could rent my short-term rented apartment on Airbnb and make money from it.
Of course there are many considerations to think about while looking at apartments. The big one I kept repeating to myself is, "Would someone wish to pay hard earned money, to vacation here?" That's quite the question to be pondering, while flitting from rental to rental with a realator chatting in your ear. But I thought it was great!
This is how we found ourselves in sunny Thailand. Once we settled in a town we started to looked at houses to rent. It was incredible how much further our US dollars went in Thailand. This was certainly one thing that drew us to The Land of Smiles in the first place, and we certainly we not dissapointed.
We rented a beautiful three bedroom house-- already furnished with stuff that spoke to our asthetics-- for less than what we were paying back in the states. The house was located in a gated community, where many other expats lived. There was a shared pool and gym. We certainly never pictured ourselves living in a gated community, but we were elated.
Our landlords were ok with us having guests. We had a great space that screamed "luxury," so why wouldn't someone pay us to stay there?!?!
As soon as we could we posted the space on Airbnb. Of course, we added great personal touches. We purchased colorful Thai silk throw pillows and knick knacks for the shelves. Although we hadn't lived in the space long, we took efforts to make it feel homey and inviting, but still luxurous. We purchased fun sheets sets and comforters for the beds.
Also, being in Thailand we were not familiar with the stores. Where does someone purchase housewares-- people must buy them someplace. We weren't able to pop into the closest Target or Marshals, to find affordable, yet decorative goods. We soon discovered Thailand's version of Target or Walmart and shopped away.
Honestly we were unsure of the whole Airbnb procress; like many new hosts we were unsure of pricing and if our description was "good enough." We traveled the learning curve road and kept playing with prices and titles.
Christmas and New Years are the highest of peak tourist season in our area, this was not surprising. When we received our first booking for over New Years, we were eleated. The group was from the US and what they payed for a few nights in our space, covered our rent for the month. Wowzers! We knew this is when we were onto something.
Admittedly that was the only time we were able to charge as high a fee; after New Years, the demand started to decrease so we needed to lower our prices as well. We were still making a profit.
Every time our whole house was rented, we would clean like hell, then leave for a mini holiday once our guests had checked in and settled. We never traveled too far or do anything glamorous, but it did give us a chance to check out the region in a fun new way. We stayed within a two hour scooter ride, incase we needed to hurry back for an emergency.
Often we stayed in the same town, booking a room at a local budget hotel or bungalow. we though the change in atmosphere was great; it was nice to kind of already know the area, but the sights and smells are very different than what you are use to.
We stayed in that house for six months. After that time, we sold what we could, then moved to a different country, to start the process all over again! This may seem crazy, but we love the process of decorating and creating a new lovely space! We love scoping our new fun cities with a low cost of living and high tourist interst. It's so interesting to research rental in a new city and see how people live. I'm even a huge fan of closing up house at the end of the lease-- it's a guilty pleasure of mine.
We have had great success and fun with this porcess, and I realize it's not for everyone, that's cool. I just wanted to share my story, it may be inspiring to some.
I'm interested to hear how other hosts came by Airbnb?
Ashley Parent is an Airbnb host and instigates the magic at http://blissylife.com. She is having a hard time staying in her seat with the excitement of the release of her new eBook Portable Bed & Breakfast: Empower Your Freedom Lifestyle With Airbnb.
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