The Doors sang, “People are strange, when you’re a stranger.” But since we put our country house on AirBNB, the people we’ve met have been anything but strange.
AirBNB is to lodging what Uber is to cars for hire. As of early January of 2015, it had booked more than 25 million reservations in 92 countries.
Our vacation home is in the insanely beautiful Cascade Mountain area of Washington State. We hadn’t been using it very much because of the work we were doing on our new retail store, Alki Surf Shop, in West Seattle. So we thought it made sense to let other people take advantage of it. The listing was begun in 2013, but wasn’t activated it until last fall when a friend enquired about renting our house. It seemed like it was as good a time as any to give it a try.
Before creating our listing, I did some research to see what kinds of properties were available in the area, how they were priced, and what kinds of amenities they included. Then I began the process of collecting images of our home, and writing descriptions, with the goal being 1) honest representations and 2) highlighting the positive attributes.
Among the tools we’ve used to create and manage our presence, theSamsung Galaxy Note 4 has been great. Not only is the AirBNB app terrific, the Note 4 has enabled me to document changes in our house and share them on the site. Here are a few:
A peek at the kitchen
Looking into the breakfast nook
The living room has a sleeper sofa that sleeps two
You can see, the quality of the photos are as good or better than most point-and-shoot pocket digital cameras! That’s because the camera on the Note 4 is amazing!
Looking into the dining room from the living room
Verizon is the only carrier we have found to provide reliable service in Randle, Washington. We heard from one group who said they were able to get a signal on AT&T and to a lesser degree, T-Mobile, but the last time we were there (a week ago) AT&T at least, was zilch. Honestly, I don’t know what we’d do without Verizon. It has been our lifeline to the outside world.
My real-life bestie has been using AirBNB in her travels, and has found some amazing places in the U.S. and abroad. I’d also heard of VRBO (Vacation rentals by owner), but felt more confident in AirBNB because of my friend’s personal (and positive) experiences.
I’m am AirBNB novice, but I’ve found ample support, both within the host communities, and from AirBNB itself. Each time I’ve had a question or issue, AirBNB has answered within 24 hours. The communities are even faster. Post a concern, and BOOM, help is there.
The experience has been largely positive, and we’ve learned through guest feedback, how to make our home even more hospitable. We’ve met people from far-off lands, as well as those from our own back yard. We discovered we share mutual IRL friends with one of our guests. Several people in another group work at a very popular restaurant here in Seattle, The Whale Wins, listed by Bon Appetit as one of the top 10 new restaurants in the U.S. in 2013. We enjoyed them so much, I made it a point to take our extended family there when we celebrated my birthday earlier this month. And trust me when I say the food was fabulous!
So how are a country house, AirBNB, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and an award-winning restaurant connected?
Through great technology and with help from Verizon.