It’s time for another Community Spotlight and we’re shining a light on Airbnb.org supporter and Host Club leader, Niels24! Lesen wir gemeinsam!
How long have you been hosting for, and why did you first start?
I started my hosting venture in 2016 with a little studio in a large building with several flats from around 1790 which I had renovated. But the studio was so small that nobody wanted to rent it, so I thought I’d give a shot listing it on Airbnb. It became so popular that I made superhost after three months and have been so continuously ever since.
Tell us a little about your listing.
Actually I have several listings, most of them are located in historic buildings in my rural community in South Western Germany near Luxembourg. Since most people want to live in modern single family homes in my area the buildings in the historic village center tend to remain unused and eventually fall into abandonment. I take the worst of these buildings and bring them back to life as Airbnbs. I combine the historic charm of squeaking wood floors, stone walls and antiques with modern amenities like new bathrooms, kitchens and furniture, which creates the unique experience for my guests. When I first started with my little studio I never thought that the Airbnb income would help me to finance rehab projects that would otherwise be financially impossible. Currently I’m rehabbing a wealthy farmer’s manor built in 1735 as my next lisitng.
What does the word community mean to you? Give us some examples of being part of any community (here you can talk about volunteering in general).
Living in a small village entails community engagement almost automatically whether you take a couple of hours to listen to an elderly neighbor whose family have moved away or converting the old firestation into a bistro as a meeting point for the members of the community (and a great way for my airbnb guests to meet locals). I have also started a facebook group for the village some years ago where people can meet virtually, even those that have left the area for work in other places.
How long have you been part of the Airbnb Community and why did you join?
I joined Airbnb in 2015 as a fun way to visit and meet with people during my vacation and travels through Europe. I stay mainly in Airbnbs in France, have met some fabulous hosts and it’s a great experience to meet people with different backgrounds and lifestyles.
Tell us about being a Host Club leader, what does entail?
We started our host club just about a year ago and we have new hosts joining every week. My mission as the club’s leader is to encourage all members to participate and create a comfortable ambience for all members whether they share a room in their home or have several listings dedicated to Airbnb. In order to create a sense of community it's important to encourage members to share useful advice or help solve a problem. As community leader I provide regular input to keep the discussion going and create “bonus” value providing useful information for hosts that are part of the club.
If you could make it better, what one thing would you improve?
I would really like more active engagement by a greater part of the club’s members. People sometimes tend to just consume content rather than becoming active. I think this could be achieved by more in person meetings.
When you are not hosting, what do you like doing?
I’m a car fanatic for old and youngtimers, which is a hobby I enjoy plus the adventure if a over 30 year old car will make it driving 2000 km. from Germany to Spain. Besides that, the work of restoring old houses and imagining the next project is a lot of fun.
What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Unfortunately, my phone. It enables me to manage my listings and my other work, but it’s never quiet.
Where would your dream holiday be?
I’m not a dream beach and palm tree person, I would like to do a road trip along the Maghreb coast.
If you could have lunch with a famous person (past or present), who would it be and why?
A difficult question. Probably Thomas Jefferson. It would be interesting to discuss over a glass of wine the contradiction of the ideas of freedom and equality for all men, being a slaveholder at the same time.
What's your food weakness?
Rack of lamb à la provençale
Do you have a fun fact?
My first guests from New Zealand left a startled review “Everybody in the village greeted us on the street although they didn’t know we were.”
Anything to add?
It would be great that Airbnb maintains the community spirit which is in its DNA although being a stock traded company that has to deliver to its investors.
We would like to heartily thank @Niels24 for sharing their experience and Host journey!
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