The Gig Economy
Airbnb has become a household word used to describe travel, the gig economy, and a room shared.
Some have not experienced Airbnb, mainly because they aren’t sure what it is. We started using Airbnb a few years ago when we became hosts; our boutique hotel fit the model well. We use Airbnb as another platform to reach potential guests. As with any new platform, it took a bit to figure out the best thing for us, but it has worked out; we currently run over 20% of our bookings through Airbnb.
After we started using them as a host, we started using them to book travel as well. Because we live in our RV, we don’t often use hotel rooms, but there are occasions where I want more space. You’ll find me in one of three scenarios – the adventure trailer (our roof-top tent), a Hampton Inn, or a house.
We go to Airbnb for houses. (We use Hipcamp for the adventure trailer – but I’ll come back to that.) We’ve always chosen exclusive use spaces where we rarely meet the host; I prefer the anonymity. But shared spaces are how Airbnb got its start.
Airbnb adds Experiences
Now Airbnb has added Experiences to their listings. It started as a place to add user experiences as people were traveling—an added benefit to coming to town, small experiences instead of the larger tours. There are Jeep adventures, hikes, yoga, cooking, etc. Just about anything you’d be interested in learning. With the added challenge of social distancing and the change in traveling, Airbnb added online experiences recently. I took my first in January. A paper artist I follow hosted a book-making class through Airbnb.
Can I tell you? The sky is the limit. With the addition of Airbnb adding experiences, they have now become a great resource for anyone who wants to teach.
Right now, online teaching is super easy; reaching your target market is hard. You can teach on any number of platforms – Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, Ruzuku, Podia – among others. You can list on Udemy, Coursera, eLearners. There are Zoom links and Facebook lives, you can have your own app, creating is easy – although potentially expensive. Again, creation is not the problem. Marketing is, that’s where Airbnb can help.
It’s the reason we list our rooms on Airbnb, we already have a website and a reservation agent, but we reach a different market on the Airbnb site. The same is true of your courses. Airbnb gives you new eyes worldwide that can take your class from anywhere. I find that really exciting. My instructor for the paper class was based near Seattle; there were 10 participants from England, Scotland, Maine, Vermont, Texas, California, and more joining. We get to share; the instructor gets to introduce us to her other work and her website, Airbnb monitors that we all have a great experience. Never doubt that.
Airbnb is very review-driven, like extremely. As a host of rooms, I know that I need to strive for 5-star reviews on their platform. They have a Superhost program that brings value and benefits but comes with obligations and responsibilities as well.
We’re proud to say we’ve been Superhosts since our first review period on Airbnb. But like all good things, that feels tenuous. A single host cancellation can throw the Superhost designation out the window, which can adversely affect your reservations. So far, so good.
I recently got promoted to Airbnb Ambassador – if you or someone you know is ready to get started, let me help you. The Ambassador program gives me access to resources they don’t offer anywhere else. I get to use my copywriting skills to improve your listing at no cost to you. Airbnb pays me to help you and adds $67 after you complete your first booking. It’s a good deal for both of us.
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