Funemployed Day 29: My thoughts on Airbnb

"Hey Miz, I was wondering if you could help me open the green door, I've been trying to open for a hour and it doesn't seem to open. (I've attached a video) is there a way to open it or a trick to it??" - Guest 100. My Airbnb guest was locked IN my apartment building. Fuck. 

TL;DR: Just read it you fool. You know you aren't that busy at work. 

Doesn't it just suck when a holiday weekend is over?

Eh, not really. I slept in until 10am, because Bro and Sal had made me keep such a strict schedule all weekend. Finally I was free from their grasp and could make my own decisions. Phew. After getting up I promptly grabbed a cup and a mug for my morning fuel: water and coffee. I brought my laptop out to the front porch like a real southern girl and took note of my cup selection (seriously chosen at random). 

This is how you know you are staying with newlyweds

This is how you know you are staying with newlyweds

Face-palm. I have seriously kitchen envy of Bro and Sal though. I've had a realization that when you get married, you get SO much awesome kitchen stuff. They have a gadget for everything: squeezing lemons, noodling zucchini, shredding kale, grinding coffee beans, etc. I want to get married just for the kitchen stuff. I'd even be up-front about it. I'd send out invites that said "She's just in it for the kitchen stuff." Then I'd get a divorce right after. I just want that Vitamix, guys. 

Next I wrote for a while and enjoyed the warm Charlotte air. 

Bro stopped home around lunch time (my breakfast time), and we went to a local sandwich spot for lunch. Then we took him back to work and I took his car for the afternoon. I stopped by the grocery store, since I seem to be Bro and Sal's personal assistant now. I got us some stuff for dinner. 

Then I had some Airbnb-induced anxiety. 

This is rare. Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's enjoyable for the most part. I've hosted well over 100 people by this point (between couples and groups). I had fucked something up and double-booked people for a night. I have two listings for my apartment. One is for two bedrooms (rented when I do out of town or whenever the fuck I feel like it) and the other is for one bedroom (rented while I stay in the other room). I screwed up. I accidentally accepted two reservations that overlapped. I realized my mistake and sent the woman a nice note explaining the situation and why I needed to cancel. 

She went nuts. I got like 10 desperate messages back. "Nooo, pleeeease, NOOO. I'm literally shaking and in tears. This is the worst thing that could happen." I was feeling really bad. "Omg I really screwed this lady over." "Omg, I'm not doing my job well." Then I tried to help her. I gave her a plan B to stay with my friend and I sent her some other listings. She continued to whine. I had to leave my computer and go for a walk to rid myself of anxiety. 

I got back with renewed energy. Fuck this. This lady is crazy. I'm like if your Airbnb cancellation in the biggest city in the USA a month before your trip, is the worst thing that's ever happened to you, then you have a problem lady. Get the fuck over it. I have so little patience for people who aren't rational and cannot solve problems. Sometimes you just have to deal with it. I stopped feeling bad and thought of all of the positive experiences I've had and all of the positive reviews I've had on Airbnb (see for yourself). Then I just stopped responding to her. 

My mistake was accepting her reservation in the first place. Airbnb isn't for everyone. There's a specific type of person. You need to be easy-going, down to earth, and rational. This isn't a hotel. It's not hotel service. It is a nice place with a friendly host, and you are going to live like a local. I am wary of accepting reservations from people who are first time Airbnbers (like this lady). If it is their first time, I'm more likely to accept if they seem well-traveled and down-to-earth. You can tell A LOT by a few simple messages with potential guests. If people ask too many questions before they've booked with you, this is another red flag. Like, "Will you have towels? Do you have a blowdryer? Will we share the bathroom?" Yes. This is a sign they don't know what to expect and probably won't be a great guest. 

How do you manage while you are out of town?

I was paid to be a project manager, so I am pretty good at project managing. People are always like, "Isn't Airbnb hosting a lot of work?" Yes. I always say, "I treat it like my business. It is my business. I run it like a business." I take time to coordinate logistics. I have a message that I send to all guests a week before their stay with all of the details they need to get to and get into the apartment. I use Handy, and housekeeping app, to coordinate and hire cleaners.

I send A LOT of detailed messages to make sure people know what I need them to do. "Here is where you get the key. Here is where you find the sheets. Here is where you put the key back for the next guest." I use a lockbox outside so the cleaner and new guests can get the key if I'm not home. "But who teaches you to run an Airbnb?" "No one." You just figure it out. Also it's an awesome platform, and as a tech person, I totally admire their tools. They make it easy for me to do my job. I keep a sign right inside the door with a welcome note from me, wifi details, and local staples nearby. I also have a guest book where guests leave notes (this is really cool). 

Just casually reading my guestbook with no makeup and a nose pimple

Just casually reading my guestbook with no makeup and a nose pimple

Luckily I can do most of this coordinating through my phone. I can even do it at the bar. My brother took this video while I was messaging my cleaner on Monday. I needed to tell him where to put the dirty sheets and shit like that. I was in the zone:

I really love hosting. I have a few thoughts about how to be successful. 

I've always loved hosting. I don't know what it is. It's just my thing. I've always enjoyed meeting people from different places. It's not even about that though. I think it's just that I like meeting interesting people. You don't have to be from far away. I've had great American guests too. 

I like knowing that I can help someone enjoy their time in NYC. They can come "home" at night and feel relaxed. There's so much uncertainty to travel, and when you don't have much time in a city it can be a little overwhelming to decide what to do. I want to help. It also pays my rent. This is awesome, but I also put a lot of work in to make this a reality. This doesn't just happen. 

I think the market is pretty flooded with places to stay on Airbnb in NYC, but I felt confident that I could differentiate myself based on being a great host, offering an affordable price, and having nice decor. It's pretty simple. A lot of people's apartments look like shit, they charge too much, and they are just in it to make money and don't really care about hosting. This is how I've been successful. I won't raise my prices just because I know I can. I set a reasonable price where I know I will stay booked consistently, and where guests will feel like they got their money's worth. 

I mean wouldn't you want to stay here?

I mean wouldn't you want to stay here?

I've been at it for a year now, and it's been the best. It's my favorite thing that I do, and I'm proud of it. 

Then I did some more stuff with my day. 

I sat outside, painted my nails, and had a short meditation session. Meditation is just mindfulness. It's sitting in silence, calming and focusing your mind for a brief period. This helps relieve stress and train your brain to be a better brain for all the time that you are not meditating. It's great and I should do it daily. I don't, but I'm going to try.

finger stubs

finger stubs

Meditating is hard. It's really tough to shut that yapper in your head up. That's the point, it's to go easy on yourself. You have to calmly say, "Hey yapper, I know you just want to keep yapping on, but let that pass, focus on now, clear your mind." You get there for a second, then the yapping starts again. You just keep trying until shutting your yapper up becomes easier. This all changes day to day as well. Most days it's more work to shut up and relax than it is to keep yapping. This is not hard to believe, seeing how engaged and "on" we always are these days. It's hard for us to turn "off". It's important to turn off though. 

Then I went to spin my legs with Sal. 

We went to Flywheel. It was an awesome class. I worked harder than I think I ever have in a spinning class. They really dig in to people's competitive spirit here, showing you a countdown clock of how long you have to sprint for and a monitor with your torque and RPMs. I spun my legs really fucking fast. I don't know how Sal did it. She's a beast. She had already gone to a 6am workout class that morning. 

We got home, made dinner, and then I had more Airbnb-induced anxiety. 

Dinner was really good. We also made dessert. I was totally ignoring my phone throughout our meal. After we ate we went upstairs and watched Silicon Valley. I also ignored my phone after dinner. I came back downstairs, checked my phone, and saw a ton of texts, missed calls, and a voicemail. It was my Airbnb guest, Guest 100 (I'm going to call him this, but he's not just a number to me). He was locked in my building. Yes, IN my building. The front door was stuck. I've had it get a little stuck on me, but never this bad. I freaked! He even sent me a video:

Luckily by the time I responded he had gotten out already. He was SO COOL about it. After my exchange with the crazy lady earlier I was ready for Guest 100 to go off on me, but he was like, "Whatever, it's not your fault." He literally spent over an hour trying to get out of the door. Wow. I could tell I liked this Guest 100 already. A lot. He was so calm and cool. That's the real spirit of Airbnb. "Hey, if I get locked in the building, that's like the most local experience I could have, and that's cool." Yep. That's right. I hope I get locked in buildings all over the world. How cool would that be?! I immediately contacted building management. 

Don't take B12 vitamins before bed.

I had a early morning flight on Wed., so we got to bed early. I didn't really sleep much. 

Back to NYC bright and early!

Back to the city that never sleeps. Right. That's what I was practicing for. 

  1. Fly to Newark
  2. Get back to my apartment
  3. Get locked out of my apartment
  4. Tennis with Croatian
  5. Dinner with future-funemployed friend
  6. Great chats with Guest 100