244. Hosting Hotline: Live in Your Own Airbnb Like a Pro

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[00:00:00] Sarah: Welcome back from the great week. My name is Sarah Karakaian.

[00:00:02] Annette: I am Annette Grant, and together we are– 

[00:00:04] Both Annette & Sarah: Thanks for Visiting.

[00:00:05] Sarah: And this is the–

[00:00:06] Both Annette & Sarah: Hosting Hotline.

[00:00:07] Sarah: If you don’t know what the Hosting Hotline is, it’s where you, our listener or viewer can call in, record your voice and will answer your question here on the podcast. If you go to thanksforvisiting.me, in the upper right hand corner is a bread button that says, “Ask TFV”. It’s a real simple process. Record your question. Anything about business or the short term rental industry operations, or whatever you want to talk, we are happy to answer it. And this week we have a great question about taking it back to the roots of short-term rentals as they are today.

[00:00:36] Question: Hi there. My name’s Paul. This is a question I’d like to get your take on vacation rentals   specifically cottages. I don’t know if you do a lot of that. We have a cottage on a little lake, two hours North of Toronto, and  I’ve renovated the lower unit to be a livable unit. So I got basement to the lakes with a beautiful lake view. And that leaves the rest of the cottage  three bedrooms to be enjoyed by another family. 

And I know most families would like to have the whole property to themselves, but this is my sole residence, so I thought, why not stay in the basement while having guests in the summer for a week upstairs?  They can rent it weekly and I can stay downstairs, keep an eye on things, make sure they have everything taken care of. And I know the favorite places I’ve stayed in usually don’t have the host around. Well, it depends on the host, but what’s your take on–  

[00:01:27] Sarah: So it cut off a little bit there, but we get the gist.

[00:01:29] Annette: Yeah, Paul.

[00:01:30] Sarah: And that’s a great question because Annette and I are excited to answer this. This is how I got started. I had a house, a little house, and we had a basement, and we were in New York City, and we knew that lots of people liked to come to New York City and explore. And so Nick and I–

[00:01:43] Annette: I’m now– 

[00:01:44] Sarah: My business life partner. No, my other life partner, my husband Nick, he and I decided to take the plunge back in 2010 and share part of our home. And it was like Paul’s situation. It was a separate space but obviously under the same roof. And we had a great experience.

[00:02:01] Annette: And I am so pumped for you, Paul. I’m like, let’s go. And one thing that you didn’t mention, Paul, and I want you to expand your thought on this, you were thinking you would go to the lower level living quarters and the guests could be upstairs. I love that. But you could also have both opportunities. What if it’s maybe a singular person that wants to come to this amazing lake and visit, and they don’t need all three bedrooms? To me, you have two possibilities under this one roof, which is amazing.

You could open up both spaces if you’re that ambitious and eager. But I think this is the actual best place to get started because you already live there. You already know all the ins and outs of the property, the daily use of it. Sounds like you’re already living there full-time. So if you could get any revenue on top of, you’re obviously paying for everything now, so you have this huge upside financially for yourself, and really minimum downside because you’re already paying for everything, so you know that you can swing that. But I would get this ready for the season that’s upcoming.

Give it a try. I have a feeling that you’ll be like most of our listeners and this will completely change, hopefully change your life. It’ll be awesome. And those guests, be transparent. This is the thing that we want to just touch on is that your guest some of them do want to be– they don’t mind if there’s a host there. They want a host to be onsite. So Sarah, let’s go into that a little bit of just the transparency part of you being onsite with the guest.

[00:03:30] Sarah: Yeah, I was trying to think if there’s anything back in the day that I could give Paul, anyone listening advice to how it would be different from being offsite and honestly, other than making sure they understand the host lives on property, and when you might feel comfortable getting a knock on the door. I mean, maybe setting some boundaries. I could think of that. But it was just a really lovely experience. This is back in the day before people even knew how to really behave booking via Airbnb. So I don’t know what downsides there are.

[00:03:59] Annette: Yeah, I think the biggest thing, and we didn’t hear you mention it Paul, but I’m sure you have it arranged, is just making sure that the entryways between thetwo units are secure and that there’s a way for you to lock yourselves out from the guest and vice versa there. I just want to be honest about that.

[00:04:12] Sarah: Again, no matter what, you want to make sure your home is a good fit for anyone looking to book, Paul. Especially as you get started and you start to learn how your listing sounds to a potential guest, maybe for the beginning part of it have a conversation before people can book, just to make sure they understand and it’s the right fit for both of you.

[00:04:32] Annette: Yeah. Reiterate that you will be there. It’s your primary residence.

[00:04:35] Sarah: But other than that, Paul, and everyone listening who might have an opportunity like this in your own home, or you feel comfortable doing this, I say go for it.

[00:04:43] Annette: Yeah. And the other great thing, Paul, you can just open your calendar up for a small amount of time. Test it. That’s what I think the beauty of short-term rentals and doing this is that you don’t have to commit the perpetuity of your property is going to turn into a short-term rental. You can try it in smaller segments, see if it works for you. And maybe you’re like, hey, I’m going to– you have a financial goal, you hit that goal each year and then you close your calendar down, who knows?

[00:05:06] Sarah: Yeah. And I like that Paul’s asking this question now because I feel like obviously short-term rentals have exploded since COVID, drivable destinations, the professionalism of the co-host. I mean, vacation rentals have grown forever, but this home sharing concept has really exploded. But I like this taking it a step back and not forgetting that setups like this still are– I know a host in town here in Columbus, she still shares her bedroom in her home and it really helps her offset–

[00:05:34] Annette: Her actual bedroom or a bedroom?

[00:05:36] Sarah: A bedroom in her home.

[00:05:37] Annette: Okay. I was like, that sounds– 

[00:05:38] Sarah: She does own the–

[00:05:39] Annette: That’s a little bit during the– 

[00:05:40] Sarah: She does own the bedroom but–

[00:05:42] Annette: Okay.

[00:05:43] Sarah: A bedroom in her home and she’s down the hall, and she still loves it. She has a lot of great success and she doesn’t just limit it to people who identify as female. She’ll welcome anyone.

[00:05:54] Annette: And that’s the key too, Paul. There are going to be a lot of guests that, maybe depending on the price points since it is shared, might be a little bit different. That’s why so many hotel chains are successful because there is a traveler for each of them. So open it up and let us know, Paul. We’re excited for you.

[00:06:12] Sarah: And if you’re listening right now and you share a part of your home, whether it’s completely blocked off or a bedroom down the hall from yours, let us know. I would love to check in with those hosts who are still doing that concept. Let us know how that’s going for you. If you need tips or tricks for Paul, we’ll definitely update all of you with that. But great question, Paul. And again, if you have a question about the short-term rental industry operations side of the business, analyzing properties, go to thanksforvisiting.me. Upper we hand corner is a red button, record your quick question and we will answer it here on the podcast. And with that, I am Sarah Karakaian.

[00:06:44] Annette: I’m Annette Grant, and together we are– 

[00:06:46] Both Annette & Sarah: Thanks for Visiting.

[00:06:47] Sarah: We’ll talk to you next time.