Have you heard of it? Have you done it?
My husband reads EVERYTHING about tech stuff. He loves it and finds it very interesting, even if he will never own the thing he's reading about. A good example of that is earlier this week, Apple released its new iPhone 5s. My husband is probably the ONLY person left on the face of the earth that doesn't want to own and has never owned a cell phone, however he listened to the release presentation for the iPhone 5s for over an hour and has read all of the hubbub about it.
Last year, Jerome read something about a new, popular app that will allow you to reserve a room at someone's house and/or list rooms in your own house to allow people to reserve. The website (and subsequent app) is called airbnb.com.
For us it sounded pretty cool, ever since our first stay together at a B&B in Ireland, we've always thought it would be fun to own one. This app/website gives us a taste as to how it would be to own one...actually, it's like we really do own one.
After we put our two empty rooms up on the site (you can see the links on the top right of my blog), we really thought that we might have maybe one person inquire about it but we never thought we'd actually have people stay with us.
At this point we've had 15 people inquire. We've hosted 6 times and we've made our own reservations twice.
I've told my family and friends about it and my sister used it for their trip to NC.
We would have hosted everyone but we were in the middle of the kitchen renovation and it just was impossible to host because the entire house was a dusty mess + no kitchen to make breakfast or even have a cup of coffee.
Here's a little synopsis of the types of people we've hosted and also the people with whom we've stayed.
Angela & Brad - nice young couple living in the Grand Rapids historic district. We stayed with them overnight while we visited our niece who is attending GVSU. The house is an older home that they've been busy remodeling. They have really nice taste in decorating. This place took the "air b" portion of the moniker to heart and had an air mattress in the room. If I had been 15-20 years younger, that might have been OK but my back just killed. The other thing is that they didn't take the "nb" portion very seriously as they didn't offer us anything for breakfast. Bummer. Other than that, we had a nice conversation at the end of our stay. Prior to our stay, she had sent us very informative emails with local restaurants and things.
Loise & Ron - young retired couple from Connecticut (they winter in Florida). Very nice and quiet. Mostly stayed to themselves until we "made" them talk to us at breakfast :) In our home, we make you breakfast (on the weekends) AND we eat with you since you are guests in our home. We had a really nice conversation with them during breakfast where we learned a lot about them. She is an artist and gave us a set of greeting cards that she had made. Really, really nice. We were lucky to receive an invitation to visit them the next time we are in Florida :) That will be in November - and we WILL take them up on the offer.
Gary - middle aged guy who is a rep for a bike company. We were centrally located enough to be homebase for him during the week. He was very soft spoken, all around nice guy. Very detail oriented and gave us some very good advice on how to improve our room for the business traveler. We immediately implemented his suggestions. We hope he comes back to see if we are doing it right.
Laurie & Karla - sisters in their late 60s. So down-home nice, it was like having family members staying with us. They were coming for their brother's 50th wedding anniversary. Spent two breakfasts with them and had great conversations. We were lucky again and have been invited to visit the one sister at her home in Florida. Looks like our trip in November is filling up!
Alexis & Rochas - young retired couple from Hong Kong! They were here seeing to the enrollment of their son into a prestigious High School in Bloomfield. They stayed with us for 4 nights. This was so much like hosting an exchange family. We spent a lot of time with them and getting to know them and their home land. They even brought their son over for Sunday breakfast. He speaks so well, you'd never know he wasn't from America. On Sunday, they helped us with YARD WORK! Oy! I told them to come back at the end of October when all the leaves are falling.
We have just had two more inquiries which have resulted in reservations for this weekend and next week. And we just made our second airbnb reservation. This time with Helen in Los Angeles. We'll be heading to Las Vegas for my friend's wedding and then take a couple of days and drive to Los Angeles. The house we will stay is in the Hollywood hills with some awesome views. It will be pretty cool.
Airbnb has so many cool places to stay and at reasonable prices, it's ridiculous! Plus you get to meet some really neat people and perhaps create some friendships along the way.