It’s the travel trend that’s changed the face of vacationing – but what’s it really like to use Airbnb? One host shares her story
Since clicking the ‘host’ icon on Airbnb’s website a couple of months ago, my life has transformed. At home I’m no longer just a writer, girlfriend and living room yoga enthusiast. I’m now a chambermaid, laundress and cleaner, forever in a cycle of washing up, changing sheets and wiping down the bathtub. I am an Airbnb hostess.
In the months since graduating, money has been tight. But the idea of working nights in a bar after my busy day job filled me with dread. When my boyfriend suggested we try and make money from our spare room it was a lightbulb moment – rather than having to deal with an odd flatmate crowding our space, we’d make almost double by renting our room occasionally to complete strangers.
Most guests request one night, maybe a Friday or Saturday – a place to crash while they visit friends in the city. We charge £45 a night for a single guest and £65 for two. Not bad for a bed in Glasgow’s trendy West End – especially when the hotel two minutes down the road charges £229 a night.
Our first guests were so busy I didn’t even get the chance to meet them. They arrived, dumped their bags, went out to party and had checked out by the time I returned from my morning spin class. Result.
The next pair were a little more tricky. Two Indonesian students with an accommodation mix up who needed a place to stay before their university term started. They were polite, quiet and sweet. But ten days is long enough. They left the toilet seat up, slept with the bedroom light on, cooked full feasts of chicken and beef at seven in the morning and asked to put the heating on in August. And my God, did they go through loo paper.
Overall, though, I enjoyed meeting new people, learning about their home country and sharing jokes over cultural mix-ups. I learned to share my space; they learned to deal with me roaming the flat with wet hair and no makeup.
One night before going out to meet friends, I popped my head into the kitchen to say goodnight. “You look beautiful,” one visitor exclaimed, seeing my made-up face for the first time. His friend nodded feverishly: “Oh yes, what a transformation!”
Who knows if they were talking about my new lipstick or my hosting skills? Not that I have time to worry about that –.if you’ll excuse me, I have another Airbnb request coming through…