This time of the month, is one of my favourites here in the Community Center as we get to have a Q&A with one of our community members and learn a little more about them. This month, we are hearing from a person who contributes a lot here in the CC and is known for starting great discussion points:
How long have you been hosting for and why did you first start?
This invitation to be featured in the Community Spotlight is timely, as it coincides nearly to the day with the one year anniversary of my receiving my first Airbnb guest. I'll never forget first posting my listing in April, 2017, and hearing the little 'ding' on my phone just a few hours later saying that I had an Instant Booking. Suddenly it hit me that I had absolutely NO Idea what I was doing! To be honest, I had no intention of becoming an Airbnb host - It was the furthest thing from my mind. I had never even been an Airbnb guest! The reasons that I first started to host could easily fill a small book, but in short, after moving to the South-Central Oregon Coast from California, one of my horses (Blue) foundered; he is the equine love of my life, but he happens to have a very serious metabolic disorder and his health is very tenuous and he requires special care at all times. I was living in temporary housing 45 minutes from the stable where he is boarded, and I decided to buy a home in Florence so that I could care for Blue and my other horse (Winchester) more easily. I soon fell in love with a 1/3rd-acre property on Heceta Beach. Because the recently renovated home on it used to be two houses, I decided to list the 2nd home on Airbnb in hopes of making a bit of money to help cover some of Blue's medical costs, as well as some of the mortgage payment, property taxes, etc.
Tell us a little about your listing
I realize the word 'enchanting' is somewhat overused in listing descriptions, but this Cottage property I am fortunate enough to be able to own and also share with others truly is just that. It is an 'H' shaped home built on a 1/3rd-acre' after-dune' 300 feet from a spectacular stretch of Heceta Beach in Florence, Oregon. The house is not ocean-front; it is set back a bit, and also sits up above street level, which makes it very quiet and private. It's a cedar-shingle Cottage-style home surrounded by dense foliage, flowering plants, berry bushes, and shore pines, which protects it from the heavier winds that rip through the Oregon Coast. We live in the South side of the house and the guests rent the North side. The guest space is over 1500 square feet and includes a 3rd-floor ocean view loft that allows for storm and whale watching, and our side is about 800 square feet, but the additional space provided by two decks (one covered) makes it feel nice and roomy. Guests have complete and total privacy (they have their own entrances, etc), but we are there for them as needed. We therefore consider ourselves to be traditional Airbnb hosts, in that we live on the property being rented, and we are sharing our personal home. We are one of only a few traditional-style Airbnb hosts left in our beach vacation rental area; most of the Airbnb listings in my neighborhood are now managed by local and regional property management firms and there is no actual host on site; however, fortunately for us, it seems that many Airbnb travelers - longtime users especially - enjoy having a caring, responsible host on the premises; this has likely contributed to our Cottage being 100% occupied since opening (except for days I have chosen to take off), mostly by Airbnb guests.
How long have you been part of the Community Center and why did you join?
I joined the Airbnb community in February 2017, I believe. I had started house-hunting in Florence and was considering this idea of doing an Airbnb to help with expenses. I decided to do some research online about the pros and cons of hosting and came across the Airbnb Community Center forums. I had many concerns about hosting, and wrote my own post asking for feedback from experienced hosts about the realities of hosting; specifically, was it as risky as some of the posts on the CC suggested. I received so many kind, supportive, and informative replies from very experienced hosts that encouraged me to go for it. I will always be grateful to the community for this, because our Airbnb has thus far been successful beyond my wildest dreams, which in turn allowed me to do what I needed to do to save my horse Blue this past 1 1/2 years (his founder was severe, as he foundered on all four feet, and he had other complications beyond that related to his worsening metabolism). Happily, as of two months ago, it appears that Blue may make a full recovery and I may even one day be able to ride him again!
What is your favourite thing about the CC and if you could make it better what one thing would you improve?
My favorite thing about the community is that I can go there night or day to receive information, suggestions, guidance, and support from highly experienced hosts. This was the main reason I was able to build a successful Airbnb very quickly. I made Super Host 30 days after opening, and this added to my confidence. Having a community to turn to in times of need is a wonderful thing, and I consider Airbnb Customer Support to be part of the Airbnb community, so I acknowledge them also for my success as well (I did have a few issues come up early on that required me to contact Customer Support, with good results). If I could improve one thing about the CC I would create and institute a formal Grievance process. I myself have set up and managed such processes when working as a Social Services Director in hospital settings and it is very effective. If a host or guest feels that they have not been treated 'fairly' by Airbnb corporate, they could not only share about this here in the community (as they do now); they could also fill out a Grievance form that would go to a Grievance department at Airbnb Corporate and the matter could be reviewed and looked into further, and an appropriate resolution could be made (e.g., a Grievance form might be filed when a 5 star Super Host receives a 1 star review that is obviously malicious and retaliatory in nature, damaging their overall rating and possibly their Super Host status, yet they are unable to get this review removed by Customer Support or Case Management).
Are you more of a book or film kind of person? (Perhaps both)
Growing up I was a book person - I always had my nose in a book. After Graduate school I could barely bring myself to open up a phone book, that's how burned out I was on processing written information. The past 15 years I have been on a Documentary kick, so that's my preferred film genre today.
Are you an animal person? Do you have any?
Obviously, I am an animal person, given it was my horse that inspired me to open an Airbnb. I would say that my day-to-day life is built around caring for my Airbnb guests; my animals; and my coaching and therapy clients (in person and nationally via Skype). And, I also coach and counsel (human) clients with the assistance of my horses, so I have been able to integrate these fundamental aspects of my life. I have two large dogs and two horses, and I also care for the wildlife that lives on my property (bunnies, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, etc). My Airbnb guests sometimes ask to meet my dogs and/or horses, and often tell me later that meeting the horses was the highlight of their entire vacation!
If you were given $1000 to spend on your listing what would you do and why?
I'd either do one big project and install hardwood floors in the downstairs Master Suite (there is carpet in there right now, but the kitchenette and bathroom are hardwood); or, I would do several smaller projects such as put in garden beds on the guest side (they have exclusive use of the North half of the property); plant more edibles for the guests to be able to easily access; add more patio furniture, a picnic table; a hammock, etc - All things I hope to do one day to further increase our guests' enjoyment of the property as time and money allow.
What one thing could you not live without?
I would not want to live without my animals. If I go even one day without seeing my horses I just don't feel right. Their deep, profound calmness and centeredness and the stillness and peace they radiate restores and replenishes me, even after the most difficult day. My dogs are also a source of constant amusement, joy, and delight. I do not have human children so my animals mean the world to me.
What do you love to do when you are not hosting?
I am a musician (classically trained singer) and poet and have started a 'Music / Poetry' night at my house. We meet once a month, read our own works or the works of others, compose songs, jam, etc.. We always open up with a bit of Karaoke just to get the night started off right (the Disco Light feature is the BOMB!) And, of course, spending time with my horses, riding on the beach, and playing with my dogs. I also enjoy hanging out with my Airbnb guests around one of the fire-pits, sharing food, wine, and stories.
Tell us one or more things that makes you laugh/smile/happy.
Honestly, these days I smile just seeing my horse Blue standing in a manner that indicates he is not experiencing any pain in his feet. The fact that he can walk smoothly, soundly, and easily (with special shoes and pads) is cause for great joy and happiness. I guess I am a person who feels happy when other beings I care about are happy. This includes my Airbnb guests. Which is why I go the extra mile to ensure their vacation stay is all they hoped it would be.
A huge thank you to you Rebecca for taking the time to share a little more about yourself. It brought me a lot of joy to read your responses here.
I hope you find this an interesting read, please ask any questions or share any nice comments you have, I am sure Rebecca would love to hear from you.
Just wanted to say -Nice to "meet" you! :-)
I'm trying to get back on track in the Community Center and I really like your posts and replies.
(Tagging wasn't working right now :-$)
Naaaww! Thank you @Robin :-)
As I told Lizzie, I got struck by life. Had to catch my breath for a bit. But getting there! 👍
Nice to come back and see that life just went by in the CC. I see some very well-articulated new members. Loving it! :-)
Started growing tomatoes and cucumbers this spring. So the lawn is jealous of my new babies :-D
Looking forward to pay more attention in here.
(And got a booking request while writing!)
@Mariann Welcome back! It is so nice to see that you are back.I am sure that you will get on track very fast :) .The tagging is working only if you type the name of the person that you want to tag manually.
Thank you @Oomesh Kumarsingh (sorry, but your name takes a bit of time typing 🙊)!
Seems like a lot of the same issues still going on. And I'm still a champion in hijacking threads... Nice to "see" you too :-)
[@ mention updated]
Nice to meet you as well, @Mariann. And I am so glad that you find my posts and comments helpful. Coincidentally, my Swedish Great Grandfather was a Bergen. So perhaps we are distant relatives!
[@ mention updated :)]
As far as relatives goes we have not found any links to Sweden in my family.
The cityname Bergen is a new writing of the original Bjørgvin which means the meadow(vin) under the mountain(Bjørg/berg). My city is surrounded by 7 mountains. Hence the rain... :-)
The Norwegian viking that discovered the northern American continent 500 years before Columbus called it Vinland, the meadow country.
Also "berg" is very common in Scandinavic names. Both in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Either by itself as Berg/Berge/Bjørge, or together with other words like Bergsvik, Dalsberg etc.
That's it for school! The summer holiday for schools started in Norway today. :-)
Just mentioning in everyone here, so they see you lovely message @Mariann :)
It is so nice to see you back in the Community Center.
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