What the Best Airbnb Experiences Hosts Have in Common
Many travelers choose to stay with Airbnb to live like a local, meet locals and get local knowledge. Now you can make money doing something you love with Airbnb Experiences.
We all know that you make money by renting out a room or property with Airbnb – but what if you don’t have a space to host? Anyone can get involved and make money with Airbnb as an Experience host.
What are Airbnb Experiences?
Airbnb Experiences are excursions, activities or classes created and lead by locals – like yourself! You don’t have to be a traditional Airbnb host to become an Experiences host.
Any local can share their unique neighborhood knowledge, hobbies, skills, or expertise. Activities can be hyper-local or offer something unique. These are unique activities a visitor can’t find from a bigger commercial experience or tour.
Side note: Airbnb is tackling a $30 billion Tourism & Activities industry.
What makes a great Airbnb Experience?
Getting bookings for your experience can be competitive. Getting bookings in a touristy city is even more competitive. Your experience will have to compete with professional tour companies, packages, and classes.
You’re unlikely to compete against big tour operators with a generic experience. Some of the most popular Airbnb Experiences are unusual, niche or intimate. The top-rated, popular experiences are the ones that teach or share something unique.
According to Brian Chesky (CEO of Airbnb), the growth rate has been exponential and much faster than the home-sharing business. Here’s a direct quote:
It’s grown 12x from January until now. For its age, it’s growing about thirteen times faster than homes business was at the same time. We’ve earned about a half a million dollars from social impact experiences. And most of the business is just starting to take off. So we have some pretty audacious goals for our revenue next year. And I have a goal that we want Experiences in a few years to be another business that can stand alongside homes as like a material business for the company.http://fortune.com/2017/10/23/airbnb-ceo-experiences-new-york/
Here are 5 things the best experiences have in common:
1. Guests feel welcome and safe
Airbnb hosts should always aim to be friendly and welcoming. Manners and first impressions matter, so make guests feel welcome and safe. Be especially safety conscious when hosting activities at night or unsafe neighborhoods. Airbnb has lots of tips for 5-star guest experiences, and safety is a top priority.
2. They’re hosted by locals
The most popular experiences are those run by locals from the area or country. That’s great news for local hosts and more challenging for expats. To host an excursion in a city that’s not your hometown you will need to prove your value and expertise another way. For example, foreign hosts can add appeal by providing a bilingual experience.
3. The hosts know their subject matter
Travelers will expect you to be knowledgeable and have insight on the topic at hand. You don’t need to be a professional chef to host a food tour, but it does help to have some credentials on the topic. Food bloggers run some of the top-rated foodie tours. Qualified yoga instructors teach popular beach-side yoga sessions. And the most popular photography lessons are led by professional photographers.
4. Hosts are passionate about the topic
Some experiences are unusual and don’t need any formal training. But regardless of your niche, you should be passionate about the experience you are going to host. There is nothing worse than a bored tour guide who does not care about their subject. One of the worst experiences we ever went on was a ghost tour of New Orleans with a host who didn’t believe in ghosts!
5. Groups are small and intimate
Big corporate tours can come with big hassles. Bigger groups mean tighter schedules and less time for interaction with the guide. Many travelers choose an Airbnb Experience because groups are smaller. The size of your group will depend on the activity you plan to offer. Beach-side yoga classes can work with larger groups. Private tours might accommodate one or two people at a premium price.
Tips for getting started
Hosting an experience doesn’t come easy for everyone. Even people with years of experience and knowledge can get stage fright when leading a group.
Airbnb Experience is a great way to make a lot of money if you are a subject expert. For example, I recently came back from an Airbnb Experience in Parma, Italy. This is where the famous cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano and the famous ham, Prosciutto Di Parma come from.
Our Experience host, Claudio knew everything about the process and shared his passion for cheesemaking with us.
Pop Quiz: What are the 3 maturation stages of Parmigiano-Reggiano? It’s okay if you don’t know. The answer is 12 months, 24, and 32 months. 🙂
Each person cost about $95 and there were 9 of us. That’s about $1000 a day in revenue. And I asked how many of these experiences he hosts a week.
He said it depends on the season. When it’s slow, he hosts about 2 trips per week and when it’s busy, he does 6 trips a week. I was kind of blown away by that.
That’s roughly $6000 a week and $24,000 a month. And Claudio had no formal education. He grew up on a farm and his father taught him how to make Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese when he was just 9 years old and subsequently, he fell in love with it.
If you want to be like Claudio, here are six tips for all first-time Experience hosts.
1. Remember to introduce yourself
Be sure to introduce yourself with your name, personal background, and experience. This introduces your experience and authenticity to the group, so they know they had a knowledgeable or local guide.
2. Ask guests their names, and try to remember them
Asking everyone their name and where they come from helps to build rapport and adds a personal touch. Ask everyone in the group where they are from. This will also help you identify foreign speakers in the group and gauge cultural nuances.
3. Speak clearly
All hosts should aim to speak coherently with confidence. Every experience setting is different. When outdoors you will need to speak over street noise and traffic. Remember to check that your group can hear you.
4. Keep the group together
Keeping the group together means you won’t have to yell. But it’s also generally important that you don’t lose your guests mid-tour. Remember that travelers can get lost in neighborhoods they don’t know. Many tour hosts opt to wear or carry an identifying item, such as a bright hat or umbrella.
5. Ask questions
Long tours or classes can get very boring if you’re listening to a monologue. Ask your guests questions along the way and open a dialogue for them to learn more about your subject.
6. Be aware of cultural differences
Travelers come from all over the world. Each person and each culture has its own cultural norms and backgrounds. Remember that some guests could take offense from cursing, blasphemy or political commentary.
Practices such as tipping, while common in North America, are not the norm in all parts of the world. Be mindful that some visitors may see requests for tips as rude or heavy-handed. Every experience and group are different, so use your best judgment on what is appropriate.
Bonus tip: Have something to sell at the end
I ended up buying a Kilo of the 24-month old cheese as well as a 15-year old vinegar.
Become an Airbnb Experience Host Today
Above all, bring the Airbnb mission to life: ‘help anyone belong anywhere’.
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