PL HH Search
image desc
image desc

My name is Meg and I love what I do.

xoxoLike what?
image desc
image desc

Co-Founder of Hello Holiday

xoxoShop HH
image desc
image desc

Project designer at Princess Lasertron.

xoxoShop PL
image desc
image desc

Mother to Alice Elfie.

xoxoMeet Alice
image desc
image desc

Author of Fabric Blooms.

xoxoBuy It
image desc
image desc

I love to write, create, and overshare.


Five things I’ve learned as a full-time Airbnb host

1. Airbnb is actually about entrepreneurship (which can kind of sneak up on you).

When I started hosting, it was truly out of desperation because I needed a way to fund the new company I was building. When I made my first few hundred dollars in a month with seemingly little effort, I realized that by taking hosting more seriously I could avoid what I thought was the inevitability of needing a part-time job (in addition to my 60-hour/week at Hello Holiday plus parenting my daughter). As my personal finances were dwindling, I could never have stomached the idea that starting a second business would be the solution, which is why the possibility of so much hosting success surprised me.

2. You don’t have to die for everyone.

Unlike some Airbnb hosts, I like to be pretty hands-off with guests—I give them the key, I recommend points of interest and restaurants in the area, and then I leave them to their own plans with the reassurance that I am available 24/7 to resolve anything that could make their stay more comfortable. With hosting in a permanent “side gig” role, I’m unlikely to bend over backwards to accommodate requests for specific types of coffee, pick people up at the airport, provide food (though I do offer a bottle of wine at check-in), or be available for socializing. I’m up-front about that with guests, and the ones who mesh well with that style of travel self-select for my listings.

3. It’s okay to screen guests and turn people away.

On my listing, I say “I’m an LGBT-friendly host. I welcome non-smokers only, please. Absolutely no drug use, no unreasonably demanding people, and no creeps or I’ll boot yer butt out!” The guest who said I looked even sexier in person than in my profile photo? Dealbreaker! He had to go find a hotel instead. The guest who left her weed pipe on the nightstand in my daughter’s room? Bye. I also don’t accept guests who clearly didn’t read the listing at the time of their inquiry. There is enough business to go around—I’d rather book guests who I trust right off the bat. It’s okay to be picky. After all, it’s your space and no one else is entitled to it.

4. Disclose anything objectionable about your listing.

Admitting in advance on your Airbnb listing the things guests are most likely to complain about is a great way to filter out guests who are likely to find your space problematic. For example, in one of my spaces I have no coffee maker or microwave. In another space, the blinds can be a little finicky and the street noise can be loud. Mentioning the potential negatives as well as the positives as a host builds trust with potential guests and shows that you are honest about the limitations of your apartment. It also helps hosts get better reviews—the guests who don’t mind city noise are more likely to leave me a five-star review than someone who needs total silence to sleep, so weeding those guests out with an honest listing description will add a lot of value to your experience in the long run.

5. We must take the opportunity to advocate for the sharing economy before we lose it.

A lot of credit goes to Airbnb for my success right now—for me and so many others. It’s totally changed my quality of life, it has given me the opportunity to have unique experiences as a guest in amazing cities, as well as the ability to connect with interesting, accomplished people from all over the world who have taught me a lot. But at the same time, people like me who depend on the sharing economy for income are put in a precarious position.

There’s an embarrassing division in my own local government right now (for example—maybe yours too) between lip service for innovation and economic development, and resistance to progressive change. We have more support in the form of technological infrastructure and capital for innovation than ever, but at the same time our local governments shut out innovative new businesses willing to take a chance in our market. (Lyft, Uber, Airbnb, Taskrabbit, Sidecar?) In these cases, business becomes political and citizens can play a role in encouraging regulators to compromise with companies. I predict there will be a huge gap between cities and markets that take these opportunities and are willing to change as technology changes, and those that shut it down.

Photo from Airbnb’s regional Omaha outreach tour, taken by Andrew Dickinson.

Other posts about my experiences as an Airbnb host:

How to be an Excellent Airbnb Guest

How to be an Excellent Airbnb Host

Airbnb + Omaha = <3: Photos and Experiences from Airbnb’s Regional Outreach Event

Comment View All

4 + = eight

  • akulbe

    Hi Megan,

    (Sorry about my goofy avatar. Need to update that!)

    This article was very encouraging to read. I am an aspiring Airbnb entrepreneur! I have some questions.

    Here’s my listing:

    I was wondering if you’d have time to talk about your Airbnb experience, and maybe give me some advice.

    We have a house. We’ve listed one room, and we’ve only made about $1300 since February, but it’s much easier than me trying to find customers for computer work I do after hours.

    We’re thinking about listing a second room.

    We live in the Portland metro area, and there are LOTS of listings in Portland, but we’re outside the of the city a ways, and that keeps us from getting a lot of traffic.

    I’m familiar with the basics around how to be a good host… respond fast, keep the place clean, use the Airbnb-provided photographer, stuff like that…
    I’m mainly wondering if you have ideas on how to market, and get more bookings.

    Thank you for your time!

    Aaron Kulbe

    • Megan Hunt

      Hey Aaron!

      Thanks for your question. Here are some bullet point suggestions, without seeing your space or knowing much about it:
      Keep clutter to an absolute minimum. In my spaces, I have hardly anything personal–empty closets, nothing on tabletops, very few things in the kitchen, empty fridge. It’s hard to sustain living that way if it’s your primary residence but it adds value, especially for the guests who like a hands-off experience.
      Take advantage of the photographer provided by Airbnb–the pictures look great, and the Airbnb watermark builds trust for people who might be on the fence about booking with you. Be sure to have them take some shots of the neighborhood and any hospitality extras you provide (wine, breakfast, etc). You can sign up for free photos of your Airbnb listing here:
      Respond to requests immediately. The Airbnb mobile app makes that really easy.
      Consider using a professional cleaner. If you do, mention it in the description.
      And about that description…think about writing like a journalist. Put the most important information in the leading paragraph and then expand below about more space details. Airbnb guests have to click to read your full space description, so you don’t want people to miss the main points. Toward the bottom of the description, describe three really great things people love about your place, and one or two downsides that will help attract the guests who are best for your listing.
      Be professional in your reviews. If someone leaves a bad review, don’t be defensive in response–those reactions stay on your profile forever, so be thoughtful about the long-term effects of how you handle all potential feedback.

  • Amanda

    I’m a host too. Very well said! Hosting allowed me to be a stay at home mom and now a full time student. Great points!

  • a L i S o N

    I see you have a number of places. Are you hired by the owners of these apartments or are they yours?

    We started our B&B in June and it is quite the experience. We too are hands off in that I show the space, tell them where to find me, and that breakfast will be x o’clock. Most folks have been great, but at least one expected the pottery barn where as my place is very rustic (150 yr old house).

    I like the idea of the negatives up front, which I will likely explain in my postings.

    I love these posts Megan, and because of you and your honesty about the tourism gig, decided to open ours.

    Check it out!! (Shameless plug)

    • Megan Hunt

      I’ve done four places total and now I am only running two. In the past I worked in partnership with the building owners which is a great arrangement. Thanks for sharing the link! :D

  • Anna

    Love this photo :)

OOTD: Summer Sweater

That thing where it's 420 degrees outside and 69 degrees inside.

when you want to work as remotely as possible: traveling for business

A: Travel is important to me because it helps my morale. It recharges my spirit. Every month or two? I like to get away as often as I can…probably sometimes to the annoyance of my business partner and coworkers. It’s always important to me to find something to work on wherever I go–a reason to make it worth my while from a business perspective–but there are some places I go just to ONLY work.

Hello Holiday

Princess Lasertron