Today we are going to meet a fellow AirBnb host (and co-host) – Jamie! I first spoke with Jamie a few months ago when I discovered her Etsy shop where she customizes an AirBnb Welcome Poster unique to your space and location. She has created an amazing little business and community by renting her cabin and others cabins in her area. In this post, I’m sharing our interview and some of her first hand words of wisdom about AirBnb hosting and her personal experience.
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Give us a little background/introduction about yourself and how you got started on AirBnb
I am a focused creative with an entrepreneurial spirit. Prior to my hosting days, I owned and operated a baby hat company for 14 years. My marketing, sales, communication abilities lead the company to occupy space in some of the top boutiques and department stores such as Nordstrom.
My husband Ryan and I spent our childhood vacationing and working at the ski resort in Shaver Lake, CA, so we know it well. We were so excited to purchase our cabin in Shaver Lake in 2013 and have been enjoying it since! We very nervously listed our cabin on Airbnb in 2016 in hopes to generate income to help pay the mortgage. Our experience has been wonderful so far. We have enjoyed hosting guests at our cabin so much, that I now co-host for a few others!
I have used the same marketing and communication techniques to create a successful vacation rental business on Airbnb & VRBO. My goal is to help cabin owners in the Shaver Lake area turn their assets into profit.
What do you think guests remember most about staying at your properties and/or area?
Location! Our cabin is the closest you can get to the lake as far as cabin rentals in Shaver Lake go. We are also a five min walk to town, so guests get the best of both worlds. Vacation is all about ease, and I think that is what guests remember most, leaving feeling like things were easy.
If you could do one thing differently when you started, what would that be?
I did very little research prior to listing our cabin on Airbnb. Luckily, everything has turned out great, but I would have taken a little more time in the process. We did not purchase our cabin knowing it would be a rental. As much as I would like to say I would have furnished it differently, the reality is we were just grateful to have it and did not have the extra income to furnish it as we wanted right away. Haha…we are just now starting to update 7 years later. If we have the opportunity to purchase another property, I would definitely be seeing it through a totally different set of eyes.
How did you decide that you wanted to be an AirBnb host?
I think life and the mortgage decided for us. Our kids were busy with school and sports and we found we were not using the cabin as much as we would have liked. It felt silly to be paying a mortgage on something we were not able to use, so that is how we decided it was time to list on Airbnb and give it a try.
Is AirBnb hosting your full time gig or do you do it as a side hustle?
It was a side hustle for the first few years before I sold my baby hat company. After I sold my company, I was able to dedicate more time to the cabin hosting and it is now a full-time gig!
I have created a small business from co-hosting four other cabins in Shaver Lake. It is a great way to bring in extra income and I love meeting even more people from all over the world! It worked out perfectly, as I had no idea what would be next for me. I was nervous about entering the work world after being self-employed for so many years and really wanted to find something with a flexible schedule.
What has been the biggest challenge during your hosting journey?
Finding the right cleaning team. We live two hours from rental, so we rely heavily on my awesome cleaning team to prepare our cabin for the guests. Early on, we went through several people before finding the right fit for what we wanted to offer. I am always envious of owners who live on-site or close to their rentals which allows them to clean and prepare personally for the guests.
Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about becoming a new host?
DO IT! Don’t be afraid to dive in. I tell other cabin owners, if I can do it, you can too. The most important things are cleanliness and communication with your guests. If you do not have time to dedicate as a host and able to communicate 24/7 with your guests, hire a co-host that can give them the direction and attention they need to enjoy your place to the fullest from the start!
The other thing I wish I would have done is hired a STR professional like @oursocialstudio & @mintstrhosting who offer social media and marketing solutions for short term rentals. I was so busy running my baby hat company, it never occurred to me that I could be building an audience and marketing my rental on social media. Hiring someone with experience from the start can help set the tone for your rental on social media and educate you on ways to create valuable content for your guests.
Did you decorate your own AirBnb or did you get help from a designer?
We purchased our cabin fully furnished. It has always been a dream to have a designer swoop in to style our space. If I had unlimited funds, I would call @nestrs to work their magic on our rental! I love what they do for the STR community. It was not until recently that we had the income to update some things.
I was lucky to stumble upon an STR community on IG #thehostcollaborative which has totally inspired me to spend this month giving extra love and attention to our rental. We are heading up this week to update the decor, paint the kitchen cabinets, and stain the exterior!
Do you provide any extra amenities that you feel make your AirBnb stand out to guests?
One of the biggest compliments we get is about our welcome poster. I created a fun poster that highlights the best things to see, eat, and do in the Shaver Lake area. It is like having an onsite concierge offering suggestions to our guests. They absolutely love it and say it makes their vacation that much more enjoyable.
Not having to research everything little thing, scour a binder, or log in to your Airbnb account to read over all the information that was sent to find the best of the area is priceless for a guest.
The local businesses love it too
I am now making these for other hosts. As a fellow host, I understand that sentiment and want to create custom welcome posters that reflect it. This is why I’m passionate about making sure each poster is not only filled with helpful information but also carefully crafted to match the property’s design. Check out the AirBnb Welcome Poster shop on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheCabinHost
Thank you so much Jamie for sharing your first hand experience on becoming an AirBnb host, creating a community in the short term rental space, and opening your own Etsy shop making a unique Welcome Poster for us fellow AirBnb owners and hosts!