This summer since I’ve been traveling – a lot. However, I’m still keeping my apartment in NYC, because of its great location, and so I can have a place to crash and refuel between adventures. Keeping an apartment but not living in it full time is expensive, and luckily I’ve been able to rent my place out quite reliably on new apartment rental site AirBnB. Over the past year, I’ve rented to very many guests, and apparently have gotten lots of good reviews. In a recent exchange with some friends at AirBnB, I was invited to apply for their AirBnb Superhost program, which gives some added services to their power users. I just submitted my application and I’m not sure if I’ll be accepted or not, but for now, here’s what I wrote in my application – along with my intro video.
AirBnB Superhost Application
Tell us about your most memorable hosting experience!
Hello! Memorable hosting experiences – I have many, because I’ve hosted a ton of people. I offer my entire studio apartment while I’m away, so I actually don’t have too much in-person interaction with my guests. However, I do talk to them online and on the phone a bunch. Recently, I hosted a guy named Lou. Lou had a last minute housing crisis situation in NYC, and reached out to me day-of for my place. Luckily I was able to stay online with him and walk him through the booking procedure, and get him my keys and everything set up in my apartment within an hour of him reaching out to me. I even had my cleaning lady race over to my apartment (I was out of town) to reset my place from the last guest, and leave out fresh towels and sheets, restock the fridge, clean the whole place. When Lou got to my place a few hours later, it was all ready to go for him. Although Lou didn’t stay super long in my apartment, I was very happy to be able to get him accommodations quickly, and be online and on the phone with him throughout the whole process.
What do you enjoy about using Airbnb?
I love how streamlined and simple it is, and that it provides an easy interface for people to connect. Renting out my apartment to random people can be scary, so I love being able to connect with guests before they show up. Additionally, I love the flexibility with the booking, calendar and payment system. Allowing me to specify granular prices, including security deposits and cleaning fees lets me know that my guest and I will all be happy and know exactly what we’re getting. Now, with AirBnB’s extended security measures, I feel even safer.
In what ways could we improve the site?
In addition to profile intro videos, I’d love to see property intro videos. I also have a listing for my vacation home in colorado, and went through a lot to produce an intro video for it myself. Being able to have a youtube video window inline with the main photo viewing window would be killer.
Additionally, a little more management and maintenance support for hosts would be great. I want to be able to give my cleaning lady an airbnb login, and then have an interface to communicate with her about when I need the place cleaned, etc. Maybe even some resources for hosts, like suggestions of services I can use to maintain my place while I’m gone, and connections with other local airbnb’ers who could serve as a local liasion if I needed someone local in a pinch.
Finally, when I’m traveling and staying in an AirBnB place, I often don’t know many people in the city I’m traveling to. How about a social connections panel that will connect me with other AirBnB guests in the same city/neighborhood/area I’m staying in?
What would you say to encourage prospective new hosts to join?
Using AirBnB to manage rentals on your place is the absolute easiest, nicest, most fun way to manage. They handle all payments and money issues, provide killer personal support, and have a great looking site that will make your property look amazing. I’ve gotten more bookings on AirBnB than I ever did on VRBO, Flipkey, or any other sites, and it’s so so so much easier.
Additionally, AirBnB is a smart, cool company. Their business model is sound and profitable (unlike VRBO’s ridiculously stupid model), and the people who run the company are level headed and cool. They’re definitely a company to stick with for the long run.
In what ways do you go above and beyond for your guests?
I love each and every one of my guests, and I hope that they love me, and my apartment back. I always make sure to make personal contact with each guest, and make sure they’re going to be comfy and safe in NYC. I make sure they have all the resources they need while here in the city – I give them visitors guides, maps, packs of fake mustaches, internet access, and an extensive guidebook. Additionally, I text with them extensively, and am always available to them on my cell phone for voice or text.