We’re baby hosts, I guess you could say, having only joined the AirBnb hosting community in September. But to be honest, we had no intentions of ever joining the vacation rental ranks. That is, until opportunity knocked one day during our own vacation.
In July of this year, my family and I spent my birthday week in Gatlinburg, TN like we’ve been doing for several years. We rented a condo via AirBnb so we could have the place to ourselves and keep out of the crowds due to the pandemic. It was a gorgeous property – spacious, well-equipped, and with a stunning view of the Smoky Mountains.
During our stay, we discovered the dishwasher was broken. No biggie. But we contacted our host to let him know. Not only was he an amazing host who replaced the dishwasher the next day, but over the course of the conversation, he mentioned he was looking so sell the place if we happened to know anyone who was interested.
Oh, we knew people who were interested, all right. My husband and I had casually discussed buying property there for over a decade, but we’d never had the time or budget to start the search in earnest. It had always been one of those “maybe someday” things. We spent the next few days of our vacation, when we weren’t hiking or sightseeing, discussing if we should even consider it.
The easy thing to do would have been to just let the conversation fade and go back home with the hopes that we could stay there again next summer. However, the more we talked about it, the more we realized this could be a perfect opportunity. After all, we’d both worked hard, paid off debt, and had superb credit ratings. As icing on the opportunity cake, the owner made us an offer we would have been crazy to pass up.
Of course, owning the property was one thing. We would have to keep operating it as a short-term rental property to comfortably pay for it and better yet, to make it profitable. What the heck did we know about being vacation rental hosts? We’d stayed in several short-term rentals all over the country but hosting and renting are two very different sides of the same coin.
Once again, we took our hard-earned years of experience into account. First, we’re from Kentucky, so hospitality runs in our blood. We’d been raised to always be ready for company with some good food, a pitcher of sweet tea, and a ready guestroom. In addition to that, I had spent a couple years after we’d married working in a hotel in Louisville. I did every job but maintenance there, and boy, did I have some memorable experiences. I had even written a rom-com series based on those tales.
As I'm sure you've guessed by now, we decided to take the chance.
By the time September came, we had the deed in hand, we had read several resources about hosting on AirBnb, and listened to numerous podcasts about it. We even attended some webinars. I built us a website and started Facebook and Instagram pages. In mid-September, we hosted our first guests in our Gatlinburg home-away-from-home.
It’s been an amazing experience so far. Sure, it’s a little challenging at times, especially being remote hosts. But we have a solid system and schedule, along with a great team of professionals to help us make every guest feel like they’re right at home.
We’re now keeping our eyes open for a second property. You better believe, if that opportunity comes knocking, we will not hesitate to open the door.
Happy holidays and happy hosting (and vacationing) everyone!
Aw this is a fantastic story @Misty66, thanks so much for sharing it with us, and congratulations on your new Airbnb place! It sounds like you've got all the right skills to be a fab host, and you've worked very hard to do your research too 😊
Is there anything new that you learned since starting out, that the other resources hadn't mentioned?
Thank you @Misty66 for telling us your story and it is a lovely one!
Stay true to yourselves and personal guidelines. Stay true to your budget. Stay focussed on the end goal and expectations, stay on top of your house rules and descriptors... staying one step ahead!
Stay well, across the remainder of 2020 and stay positive for 2021! 💐
Welcome 'Baby hosts', I hope you have a wonderful future hosting with Airbnb. Your property looks amazing Misty, and I am sure you have made a great decision to jump in the deep end.
I hope you can make it work on such a low nightly rental Misty, $163 AU ($124 US) per night for 6 guests in a stunning property like that almost seems too good to be true. You are off to a great start you have some wonderful reviews, and I love the way you respond to your reviews. It is important, it's like closing the book at the end of the story!
It's a big leap of faith becoming an STR host, but I have found it one of the best things I have done in life.
Misty you will learn much here on the CC, there are many wonderful contributors here who will be only to happy to assist you if ever you need it. Individually we don't know everything but collectively the knowledge here is vast.
Good luck guys, I wish you all the best and would love you to drop in here and give us reports along the way!
Hi @Misty66 ,
Thank you for the uplifting post. You certainly made the most of the opportunity. All the best with the property and the hosting. I’m sure you’ll be earning your super host badge soon.
Congratulations @Misty66 ,
Wishing you and your family success with your STR , this view looks amazing.
‘Welcome to the CC , here you will find a brilliant team of Administrators as well a great resource of information from the hosting gurus.
‘Festive greetings 🎄✨
Wow @Misty66 , Great story Misty, thats one sweet setup, your prices seem low, (maybe its just cause we host in a super tax state, NY)! Opportunity is a wonderful thing if your not wearing rose colored glasses when you jump on it. Your background is a solid beginning for this business but the remote hosting is a bit scary with the scammers out there nowadays, hopefully you have someone local on retainer to make sure they don't mess up your beautiful Condo! Stay well, JR
@Misty66 Wonderful story of success already! And some of us can totally relate to jumping in and doing such with abandon (not reckless).....one tiny suggestion if I may, I would not tell the guests you are not living in the same state - unfortunately, I've read too many stories that prove this tempting to many that wanna have extra fun and things can get carried away very quickly. Your new place is fabulous - and looks like you are off to a terrific start. May it continue and grow, may you have the best of guests and enjoy this new journey of hosting. You are on the right path with the super people/hosts right here on CC - they are the best bunch of people in the Whole Wide World.....many are my buddies from the world over and I cherish them all dearly. Best and Blessings, Clara
United States Holiday Propaganda - Stamps
Do you still have stamps with Mountains and places of significance to help promote Tourism in USA?
Misty, have you encountered any of these Beetles they mention in this story on visits to Great Smoky Mountain?
A New Insect Puzzle
I hope you all enjoy the story about the Family of Four..as much as we did
A Family of Four