Connecting Local Businesses to AirBnB Hosts

Level 2
Memphis, TN

Connecting Local Businesses to AirBnB Hosts



I've been working on a business idea that connects local businesses to AirBnBs. Basically, it takes the informal relationship that exists between hosts and the community and makes it formal. What does that mean? It means that AirBnB hosts are now purposefully advertising locations that I have created a business relationship with. We put some advertising in the AirBnB for local stores/restauarants. Hosts get compensated. Further, these locations are able to run special deals. If the guests use the promo codes, the hosts get a kickback. 


I wanted to get feedback from other hosts on this idea because I'm experiencing some challenges. One challenge I've been running into is getting in contact with hosts. I can't use AirBnB to message them. I have thought of some ideas, like dropping flyers off at the AirBnBs etc. Would this get your attention as a host?


I started working on this idea for two reasons:


1. AirBnB hosts were already recommending their favorite places. Why not improve the process and pay them for it?


2. I wanted a better way to bring business to the local stores in my city. I am not a huge fan of corporations like Starbucks. In my opinion, there are several higher quality coffee shops in town. However, how would a guest find them without proper advertising? Also, I think local stores/restaurants demonstrate the real culture of a place. 


Any creative ideas on how I can take this further? Would you want to try this in your city?

35 Replies 35
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Nick2000  I like your attitude of promoting great local small businesses as opposed to corporate stuff. Personally, even though I'm not at all well-off, I always prefer to give my business to mom and pop outfits, even if it costs a couple more bucks.


In my town, hosts already have binders in their places with lists of businesses they recommend, massage therapists that will come to the house, local caterers, etc. and often there are discount coupons along with that. And in exchange for sending business their way, those businesses, when they host shows up for a coffee, or lunch, will often be told "It's on the house". So I know at least here, and I'd imagine in other places, this is already happening, without a need for another business, like what you're proposing, to manage something like this. But maybe it would be welcome for some hosts, it's a big world out there.


How do my guests find out about the great little hole-in-the-wall restaurant with 5 tables they'd otherwise pass by and not even notice? I tell them. "Hey, you should try this place if you want a traditional, simple, well-prepared Mexican meal." And I mark it on the map for them. I really don't feel I need to get paid for that by the business. It's a small business, anyway, they don't need more expenses, and if they offer me a meal on the house once in awhile, that's plenty good enough for me. If they don't, that's okay, too.

Thanks for your response Sarah. This is helpful feedback. Do you live in a big city? 


I live in a big city where there is so much going on that I think it's difficult for local businesses to make it above the noise. 

@Nick2000 I live in a quite small but thriving tourist beach town. I do see your idea as having more application in big cities, as in small towns, many business people know each other and have already established relationships. 

I just host a private room in my home for one guest, so I have a lot of personal interaction with them - easy to tell them about somewhere I recommend. And I also run an upholstery business, and have been the only service like that in this town for 15 years. So I go into lots of homes, sometimes I'll be in a house for a couple hours, fitting and pinning a slipcover- that's how I'm aware that these tourist rentals have binders on the counter with their house manual and pages full of business recommendations.

Is there anything you wish could be done better with the guidebooks?


How do you know if guests go to the local businesses?

Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

I have seen quite a few people come on here over the years with this concept.

@Nick2000  I already promote the independent businesses I want to promote and the wider large attractions. I’m not looking to promote business because I get a kickback but because I genuinely like them.


I don’t want advertising materials in my property- all my recommendations are in my guide book.


if you want to reach hosts who you have identified as your target market I would invest in social media and google ads.


Guests find these independent places through host recommendations and recommendations on travel sites, local blogs!, social media 

Helen, thank you for your feedback. 


So let's say there isn't an incentive, no kickbacks. 


How could I help you promote the places you genuinely like better?


I don't want to put a bunch of advertising in the AirBnB. I would just put a QR code that links to a website that shares which deals are going on for your favorite local businesses. Or what if the QR code linked to your guidebook?


I live in a big city where the recommendations that hosts give don't carry as much weight as they do in smaller towns so unique deals incentivize guests to check out the local spots. 

Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

You can’t help me. @Nick2000 

I live in a big city I just direct guests to website/apps offering discounts on food, drink, events, attractions etc


Guests love my recommendations as evidenced by my reviews.



@Helen3 It looks like you and your recommendations are loved by guests. 


It seems like some hosts are more interested in putting forth an effort than others. 


One thing that sets you apart is that you offer a tour to your guests.


What are some of the websites/apps you recommend to your guests?


Also, I'll ask... What if you could further customize your guidebook? To put your own flair to it. And what if there was a unique link to your custom guidebook? 

Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Thanks @Nick2000 


I work in marketing and comms so have already got a unique online and printed guest book.


Wriggle is one app I use/recommend. Too good to go another. 

Oh interesting!


Wriggle looks like it's only in the UK.


Thanks for the share @Helen3  🙂


Would you be open to letting me see your online guest book? 


If not, I want to thank you again for your earnest feedback.

Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Yes of course Wriggle is in the UK - that’s where I live 😀


And sorry no. I am sure as an experienced host you know what should go in a vistor guide. 

Well I'm kind of just brainstorming ideas.


Maybe hosts would like a service that helps them create a professional guide book -- maybe not. Not everyone is as invested in their AirBnB as you, but they probably would like to deliver a higher quality experience. 


Maybe I should create a service like Wriggle in the US -- maybe it already exists.


I just feel like there is an opportunity to make things better (especially for local restaurants in my city) so I am exploring. 


I live in Austin, TX

Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom



Have you done any market research? There are at least ten  companies I have come across that do customised Visitor Guides and want hosts promoting discounted local amenities.


while I appreciate brain storming will help you and your business - personally I don’t think it’s a great concept so not something I feel able  to  spend more time commenting on.

@Helen3 many successful companies started as "bad concepts." This is the beginning of my journey in this space. 


I am a big traveler so I know what I would like and want, but more research will help. 


I appreciate your feedback and time. It has given me more to consider, and I see where to go next.