It’s been over 3 years in the making, but over the weekend we hit the big one thousand Airbnb reviews! Never before have we been watching the review count more closely than the past few weeks.
What’s more exciting is that it looks as if we might be one of the first to hit the 1000 mark. We think this because the Airbnb counter on our profile was stuck at 999, even though reviews were still coming in. We reported this to Airbnb and just waiting to hear back.
When we started hosting and our very first guests Jan and Weronika came to stay, we had no idea that hosting would become our full time source of income. At the time it was a need to make ends meet during the recession and our circumstance, but as the guests came and went we soon realised that we really enjoyed giving people a home away from home and an experience that was unlike staying in a hotel or serviced apartment.
In total we hosted at home for just over 2 years with close to 90% occupancy. It was pretty hectic to say the least and many a story to be told. From honeymoon couples to large young groups of travellers we would have a revolving door of people checking in and checking out like a booked out B&B. We also specialised in a very nice breakfast and would spend most of the morning preparing it and then sitting down to at least a coffee with them and go though their day ahead. In the mix of all this activity were our 2 young kids charging up and down the hall chasing our then new puppy and having fun.
We also remember a few times one of the kids would be in a middle of a tantrum the same time the guest arrives to check in, or Barcelona had decided not to be the city of sun and the guests bed sheets were still drying on the line. Basically, sometimes guests arrived and it maybe wasn’t exactly the welcome we wanted to give them, or the one they were expecting. But hey, you want to come live with us as a family, you got it.
But that is what Airbnb is all about, meeting people and for them to see we’re just normal folk making a living. For us it is important to know that we’re not a franchise or a big company, we’re Phil and Fiona who whether you are staying at our home or at one of our apartments we just want to take care of you and make sure you have the best possible time.
The jump from hosting at home and looking after guests in another apartment was one which created its own massive learning curve. Mistakes were made, things went wrong, but we got there pretty quickly and from there we realised our passion for offering a home for short stay guests and helping guests to experience Barcelona. Airbnb’s brain also recognised we were doing a great job back in May 2012, see Number one in Barcelona, and then we were honoured with Super Host status in June of that year.
What most people don’t know is the same day we got our Super host was the same day in which we received our first bad review. So it really was a day of major highs and a massive low. Since then we’ve had a handful of reviews that have not been great. Sadly, no matter what you do and how far you go to ensure your guests are happy, some times you can drop the ball by mistake (we are all human) and also there are some people that just can not be pleased. A bad review is something we still take personally. Which is a good sign I guess and luckily one that happens once in a blue moon.
The vast majority of our hosting life is truly a dream come true and although sometimes we feel we work 24/7 the perks of working for ourselves in this arena far out way any negatives (such as calls at 11:30pm to let us know the washing machine is not rinsing).
Through Airbnb we were able to ditch the 9 to 5 and work in the environment that we have created to suit our lifestyle and family life.
If you’re thinking of starting to host and think you have what it takes, have a read through our blog and you’ll see it is completely possible to go from hosting in a room in your home to creating a way of life that is second to none. You just have to make the decision, work hard and run with it.
Thank you so much to all of our guests and all of our readers here, and a huge thank you to Airbnb for creating an amazing platform that enabled us to pay the rent and feed ourselves in the early days and being supportive all the way through to where we are today….1000 REVIEWS!
Phil and Fiona