Hello everyone, I'm Jules. I'm a brand new co-host, and our very first Airbnb guests have arrived today. The nail biting suspense as I wait to see how this all goes is killing me! I'm sitting in another country, waiting for an update from friends, the local owners and hosts.
Becoming a co-host wasn't planned. In fact, if you'd suggested 6 weeks ago that I'd be a co-host on Airbnb, I'd have laughed and confiscated your wine glass.
But here I am. Pacing. Checking my phone. My iPad. My laptop. Waiting to hear how our first guests settled in.
I need a distraction.
So, I thought I'd jump on here, and say thanks. Thank you to those hosts who have taken the time to share those little nuggets of golden advice that have helped us get to this point. Actually, that's a good analogy. I found myself spending a lot of time digging through a lot of rubble to find those nuggets. But there were quite a few "Eureka" moments when I found the answer I needed buried on page eleventy of responses to a question someone had asked in 2014. I know there's so much more to learn. So far, I'm up to page 324 of 37-thousand odd pages in the "hosting" conversation. (Yes, I know there's a search function, but I end up like Alice, plunging down rabbit holes).
By the way, why is the Airbnb platform so sloooow?? And so hard to navigate?? And full of bugs and glitches? I've never experienced anything quite like it!
So how did I get here? I became a co-host by accident really. In my travels I've made some good friends, including a family in Bali. After years of scrimping & saving, and some pretty major sacrifices, they have built their own villa on their family land. They have worked in the villa business with westerners, and wanted to run their own show, have some control, and support their local community, rather than seeing all the profits go off to offshore owners. Good on you, I said. I'll stay with you when next I'm there! It took a while to build, bit by bit as they found the funds. So, I'm over in Bali in June and organised to visit and check out the villa. They wanted to list it on Airbnb - a platform they're unfamiliar with. While their day to day English is good, it's still their third language. Can I help them with some advice and with the listing info? Sure, I said. I know nothing about Airbnb. I've used it to book accommodation exactly once. But, hey, I travel. I stay places. How hard can it be?
Then we discovered someone had already "listed" their villa on Airbnb! A westerner trying to muscle in on them, to pressure them into leasing the villa to him long term at a cheap price so he could take the profits. They were frantic, overwhelmed, and couldn't manage to work out how to contact Airbnb. There's no Airbnb information in Bahasa Indonesia and no call centre in Indonesia.
So, I became their Co-Host so I could liaise with Airbnb on their behalf. Not that there's been any liaising - the report seems to have gone to a "black hole" otherwise known as the "Specialist Investigation Unit". Luckily, I'm into self-help, and the Balinese community is very inter-connected - we managed to track the westerner down ourselves. After I had a full and frank conversation with him, he took the fake listing down himself. I feel for the four guests who'd already booked with him and had their bookings cancelled. And for all the other locals and guests involved in the other listings he apparently has under multiple fake profiles! Apparently it's how he makes his living in Bali - exploiting locals.
After this experience, the more I read, the more I wondered why my friends want to get into this game. Seriously, some of the stories on here - about guests, and about Airbnb, and frankly some "hosts" - have been gob-smacking to me. I was getting more and more nervous for my friends about this whole idea, and wondered if I should suggest they investigate other options.
But then I'd read a post from a host where the goodness just shone through. The ability to laugh at the madness of it all, the capacity to find... well maybe not joy, but real pleasure, in making a guest's stay special. This is what my Balinese friends want to do. Share their home. Provide somewhere peaceful for people to relax and connect with their family and friends, and with the local Balinese community. They want to provide jobs for their friends and neighbours so that they too can afford to send their kids to school.
And for all its faults, it seems Airbnb gives them a platform to do it. And after all, you're all still hosting, so it can't be that bad. ...Can it?
I had to laugh when the first guest booked for one (there were 6 of them), didn't respond to communications, then "notified" us the night before they were turning up 3 hours before check-in, then turned up 3 hours late, and then wanted us to book and organise to get them to a mountain trek, departing at 2.30am. It was like playing a hosting version of "bingo". Thanks to all of your advice on here, we were well prepared. We knew the warning signs to look for, and how to manage it.
I'm sure (hope!) the guests are lovely, and I really hope they leave my friends a good review. No, not a good review. A 5 star review!
@J201, welcome to the Airbnb community and congratulations on your new venture. From reading your post, it sounds like you'll make an outstanding cohost! It's fantastic that you're helping our wonderful neighbours in Bali, an island that is close to my heart. While there are certainly many horror stories on this forum, from my perspective, being an Airbnb host has been a truly wonderful experience. You will learn what works as you go, but feel free to reach out to the global community anytime. We're all friends here. And best of luck with your first guests!
Hey, leave those nails alone! I think you have spent too much time here on the forum!
Good stories seem to sink into obscurity....bad stories do the rounds!
For every horror story you read here there will 1000 lovely experiences that just slip through to the keeper.....you never hear about them.
I could go on all day about the lovely guests I have had through here, sure I have had some prickly ones and I have learned that trust is something that has to used sparingly when you short term rent!
I don't look for problems and I very rarely get them. I wish you all the best with this new co-hosting role of yours.....if I can give you just a bit of advice follow this link, it deals with host cancellations but all the rules and interpretations of the company are covered here in this link......
Also make a note of this number.....02 85203333! It is Airbnb's Australian helpline number in case you may need assistance. Murhpy's law says if you are ready for any problem that arises, you won't get any. If you are not prepared trouble will follow you like an Albatross!
All the best....
As @Robin4 said, the good stories either don't get told or get lost in the forum. While you can definitely learn from the bad things written here there's a lot more good than bad. We will be starting our fourth year next month, currently host 3 houses and nearly 3,000 guests have crossed our threshold. Even with all those guests, I can can count on one hand the really bad ones. Follow advice you've learned here, let guests know they'll be watched and screen them when you can. You will be just fine. Congratulations on your first booking and a big thank you for being a TRUE friend to your friends.
I've read through the cancellation policy, and put the airbnb helpline on speed dial thanks Rob! It's already coming in handy, as I discovered that the map location is wrong, and in different locations depending on which operating system people are using... And the STR tips website is really helpful Tim & Holly - thanks for including the link.
I'm looking forward to participating on the forum, and I'm sure I'll seek yours and others' sage advice as we get going, and continue to look out for tips and tricks - I think I'll need them!