Of all the buzzy web companies that will define my generation, Airbnb is likely the one I’m most jealous of not creating.
As a traveler and host on Couchsurfing.org since 2008, like millions I missed the too-obvious opportunity that people would pay for a better experience with a similar global community. It’s brilliant and connective and exciting and has a solid revenue plan — and if it has become the primary example of racial bias in the sharing economy, that’s something to be corrected, not a reason for it to be destroyed (Likewise, criticism of it driving up rental costs is probably not true yet)
I joined the peer-to-peer housing platform in December 2011 and took my first trip using the service in February 2012 to Birmingham, Alabama with my then girlfriend SACM. More than four years later, I continue using the service to book travel accommodations, preferring the service for homey placements in residential neighborhoods with hosts who can give local recommendations. I just find it far more interesting than a hotel — it helps that they’re almost always more affordable too.
So I was excited that I could combine these interests — welcoming guests, offering advice and making some additional money — as an Airbnb host when SACM and I bought a home together a year ago.
Last month marked a year of our hosting guests via Airbnb. To celebrate, I wanted to share lessons, advice and, yes, data from the experience.