For a couple of months now we have been hosts through AirBnB and we have been impressed with the sort of people we have had stay with us.
We have a spare bedroom in our house and have been looking at renting it out. Getting a long term tenant was an option but I had some trepidation about how the person would integrate into our household and what we would do if it was a bad fit. When my niece and boyfriend lived with us, that worked very well, but they are family.
We have thought about becoming a B&B in the future but did not think we had the time and energy to get everything together we would need to pull it off. One of my issues with the B&B idea was what it would take to get our name out there and have people begin to book the room.
I read about AirBnB in the Economist and it looked like the right fit for us. In many ways the people that are staying are more than just people paying to stay, most of them have been like real guests. I do not know if it is the nature of people willing to use AirBnB or if we have just been lucky. We have had some interesting conversations with the people who have stayed with us. They are mostly are sort of people, ones that are intelligent and interested in the world around us.
This is our listing on AirBnB
We have had guests from New Zealand, Australia, Quebec, Switzerland, as well as people from the Pacific Northwest. We will have couple from South Korea in a couple of weeks. We get to meet people from around the world in our own home.
One important part of the system are the reviews, guest review spaces they stay in and hosts review the guests that stay with them. It allows you as a host to build a track record. It also means that guests that are less than reputable tend to get weeded out of the system. I am unlikely to allow to book that has a whole bunch of negative reviews.
We have had a very busy June with guests and made a reasonable amount of money, more than if we had been renting out on a monthly basis. I suspect that we will remain busy through until sometime in late September. I have no idea how busy we will be over the winter, but even only a few bookings a month would bring us almost as much as if we were renting it out fulltime.
As a system it works very nicely. We agree to all the bookings. The way the system works you know something about the people when they want to reserve the space through their profiles and their reviews. I had not thought about it but with a regular B&B you have no real knowledge about who is showing up. I feel like with AirBnB I have more control over the bookings and they have the host guarantee. This is an insurance for damage of up to $900,000 - I think is more likely an issue for people that rent out their whole home when they are gone than when you have guests when you are home.
The payment system is online and automated, no need to talk with the guests about payment. A couple of days after the guest leaves the payment arrives directly into our bank account. AirBnB takes a small cut of each booking but the cut is not much and really worth it because of the whole system backing you up.
If you are thinking about renting out some space in your home, I would recommend you consider it.