Wrap Up: Airbnb Stays in 2018
As you may already know, I blog about how to make money on Airbnb using Airbnb Arbitrage as a business model, but this blog post is a bit more personal and less business focused.
2018 was a crazy year for me. Passive Airbnb turned one, launched my e-course, and traveled and stayed at 16 different Airbnbs all over the world. I used those Airbnb to see if I could imagine myself living the digital nomad lifestyle.
Long story short. I’m currently living out my dream in a third-wave coffee shop in Milan, Italy. (Believe it or not, Italians still like their coffee over-extracted and bitter…yuk).
It’s kind of ironic for me that Howard Schultz (Founder of Starbucks) found his vision for Starbucks in Italy. The seemingly random connections we make while we’re traveling…
The 16 Airbnb Stays in 2018
I love Airbnb and it’s no surprise. If it wasn’t for Airbnb, I don’t think I would have my current lifestyle… so I’m grateful that Airbnb came to my life at the right place and time.
The 18 Airbnb had its quirks and it was easy to tell which ones were run by “professional” hosts as opposed to “non-professional” hosts. I noticed a couple of them were poorly managed so I’d like to take the time to point out some of the flaws that I saw and perhaps you can learn from them.
Also, because I promised this blog post was going to be more personal, I’ll highlight some of the activities that I did when I stayed at a particular Airbnb.
The pics below are taken from my main travel account.
I have to make a distinction between Professional and non-professionals.
The main difference is their attitude in how they perceive Airbnb. Professionals see Airbnb as a way to maximize their money and non-professionals are doing this for fun and because they love meeting new people.
Some Highlights Across Professional Airbnb Operators
I was in town for a business trip. In this trip, I was interviewed by CEO Lifestyle, Nelson Wang. Nelson is a terrific person to work with. He strives for excellence in what he does and we share that philosophy.
When I first arrived at the complex, I quickly noticed that building has been recently renovated. This complex had 6 total units and it looked like a motel, but for Airbnb.
Here’s what I learned: It was easier to work with the city’s zoning laws to use the building for Airbnb than to get permits and licenses to operate as a motel.
Everything was automated in this building. I never saw the owner/host once in my 3-day stay. The check-in/out process was easy because they had used a smart lock. The cleaners knew exactly when I was checking out so they could turn it over for the next guests.
The unit had everything I needed for a short stay: TV, Netflix, a comfortable bed, and a small but well-equipped kitchen. This Airbnb reminded me of my stays in the Element when I was an SPG card holder and used them exclusively from 2015-2017.
Side note: Airbnb needs to introduce a loyalty program and I’m sure they are already working on this.
This Airbnb was actually a motel in the Pac-Height neighborhood. I was really excited to talk to the owner so I tracked him down for a quick chat
He told me that Airbnb charges him way less than what Priceline or Booking.com would. Those middlemen take a hefty fee at ~15% from the supplier.
Also, he started his experiment about a year ago and with just one room. Now, he’s renting out about 20% of the available rooms to increase his profit margin.
I couldn’t help but mention Beyond Pricing (BP), which is something he now uses regularly to dynamically price his Airbnb.
Last time I messaged him via Airbnb to ask if he was still using BP, he told me in so few words: “So far so good.” I guess he’s making more with it and I wish he told me just how much more per night (yes, I’m very curious).
Here are some highlights across non-professional Airbnb operators.
My college friend and I were doing a road trip that started from Hungary all the way to Venice, Italy. And for those that don’t know where Solkan is, it’s in Slovenia.
I loved the country in July because everything was GREEN and there were beautiful mountains everywhere! I definitely want to recommend this small country nestled between its more well known sisters like Italy and Austria.
When I initially found this Airbnb, I thought, “oh great, it’s right next to our Paragliding.” And it was a 2-bedroom apt which meant I didn’t have to hear my friend snore at night.
Upon checking in, we found that one of the bedrooms was locked. That was strange. The only bedroom that was open had 3 twin beds. I was confused but quickly realized that they didn’t deliver what they advertised.
I reached out to the host and asked why the 2-bedroom was locked. And this was the response: “We thought you and your friend was just going to sleep in one room and it would help us save on the cleaning costs.”
What the heck? Really…?
From this experience, it prompted me to write an article on why Airbnb hosts should always 1) charge a cleaning fee and 2) charge more than the costs of cleaning. If you want to know more, then check out this article on cleaning.
Bottom line: You should definitely charge a cleaning fee and charge 1.25x to 1.5x more than the costs. I charge $150 and pay my cleaner $75 per clean.
If you need some help to hire a great cleaner, then check out this template that I have.
That’s all, folks. 2019 has been off to a great start and we’re working on a new product that will hopefully solve one of your pains as an Airbnb host.
One last thing: if you like this kind of blog posts, please let me know. 🙂
Until next time, my friends!
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