When Jim Quinlan received a call from Barcelona in late July, he was a little surprised.
The caller was an international representative of Airbnb. She wanted Quinlan, who runs a small, solar-powered organic honey bee farm in Clearwater, Florida, to list his adventure tours, a fast-growing Airbnb feature that connects visitors with unique local attractions. And for locals it's a convenient way to get paid for sharing what makes their city unique.
"They followed my Facebook and my website. They wanted to experience Airbnb and think about it [I] would be a good fit, "said Quinlan, who runs Florida Bienenfarm, "The world has really become smaller."
How Airbnb Experiences Slowly Started and Recorded
Airbnb Experiences had only 500 entries to start in 2016. Recent initiatives, such as direct contact with potential hosts and expansion into major cities, has given the company more than 300,000 experiences worldwide
Part of this expansion, at least along the west coast of Florida, can be traced back to Orlando Cano, the owner of a kayak company called Orlando Cano, who was a bit of a blatant nuisance Paradise Adventure Sarasota,
Cano stumbled upon experiences long before they were available in Florida, and encouraged Airbnb to list kayak tours in the mangroves of Lido Key, a prime location for manatee and dolphin sightings.
"For over a year, I emailed them once a week:" Are you doing this now? "He said," Are you doing it now? "
In September 2018, Airbnb gave way.
"For the first six months, we were the only Airbnb experience in Sarasota," he said.
Since then, he has received over 500 enthusiastic reviews, hundreds more than his closest rival on the platform.
To create your own Airbnb experience
If you're already an Airbnb host, you can sign up for Airbnb experiences relatively easily. New users must be at least 18 years old and have their identity verified before hosting an experience from the company. The check involves uploading a photo of a government-issued ID card and providing a full legal name and full address.
You do not need to rent accommodations from Airbnb to create and run an Experiences listing. The services are operated separately.
Once the review is complete, Submit your idea for Airbnb experiences for approval. Experiences should generally fit into one of these categories: arts and culture, entertainment, food and drink, nature, sports or wellness.
Think of guided meditation on the beach, craft beer pub tours that introduce your city's microbreweries, or a curated date night where you can cook your own with local cuisine.
For approved Airbnb experience, the company offers $ 1 million insurance coverage for most accidents (driving and flying are not insured). For hosts, Airbnb charges 20% of the sale price per booking.
What makes a successful Airbnb entry?
Orlando Cano, co-owner of Paradise Adventures Sarasota, sent Airbnb Experiences an email once a week for more than a year to be added to the list. It has paid off; His company was the first to be listed in Sarasota. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder
Apart from the basic qualifications, how you market your experience is crucial. Quinlan and Cano shared what lights up their offerings.
Presentation of your locale
Cano and Quinlan say that tourists make up the vast majority of their customer base.
As Airbnb recommends experience to those who book nearby accommodation through the app, it is crucial to have a representative offer for the region to attract visitors.
For example, Florida is a hot spot for tourism with a reputation for outdoor activities and unique wildlife. Both Cano and Quinlan have a lot to do with Florida, but their tours go deeper than the recommendations of a simple guide to popular zoos or beaches.
Since most of their customers are not in town, it is also helpful to be able to talk more about Florida on their tours.
Get in early (if you can)
Airbnb experiences are still a new concept for many, so having a collection early can have lasting benefits.
Because of Cano's foresight, he was able to enjoy months without competition for Airbnb experiences, even with traditional competitors operating "six feet" from his starting point.
People say, 'Hey, we found you on Airbnb. That's great. We would never have found you otherwise, "said Cano." It's definitely going to be the first game in town. "
Competence and passion
Jim Quinlan smokes one of his beehives on the Florida Bee Farm in Clearwater. Olivia Morris (left) and Michael Markum watch him. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder
The Airbnb Experience website recommends that hosts have insider access and expertise to create a collection that is truly human-related. Guests want the hosts to show them a good time that they otherwise would not have alone.
Cano and Quinlan love nature and let them show themselves on their tours. Cano holds a Master of Natural Sciences degree from the University of Florida, who teaches him knowledge beyond kayaking. He says it's useful to glide through the mangroves to talk about wildlife and nature. The ability to read weather patterns is also critical to his work.
For Quinlan, the pedagogical component of his experience with honeybees is enormous. He gets many group trips on birthdays as well as bookings for people who are really interested in bees – and for those who do not. But he does not want to bore his guests. He says that his passion for his honey bee farm helps him connect with people and that this concerns the whole group.
"When [I] Embrace yourself from the people … because they had so much fun – that's my favorite part, "said Quinlan.
High quality photos and descriptions
As with any online platform where you sell a good or service, the listing itself is critical.
Here you can express your expertise and your passion in the text and enliven the experience with several high-quality photos.
Cano's listing included seven photos of kayakers paddling through the crystal-clear waters of Sarasota Bay. He's sure to plan another big draw for his tours: the wildlife. Some photos show encounters with curious dolphins and manatees. In his biography, he mentions his Master Naturalist certification and his years of experience in kayaking.
Quinlan's collection is based on the same topics. He published a mix of shots: some close-ups of honeybees, a few outfitted guests inspecting colonies, and some of them had discussions to underline the educational component.
The approval process for a listing can be difficult. Airbnb veterinarians list closely and may return questions or reviews with feedback on the issues to be resolved.
Avoid references to other companies or websites (including your own). Airbnb may not provide full names, telephone numbers or e-mail addresses as all bookings and correspondence should be channeled through Airbnb.
Ratings, Ratings, Ratings
Markum holds a hive during an Airbnb experience in Clearwater, Florida. Chris Zuppa / The Penny Hoarder
Ratings are the name of the game. They are an abbreviation for people to see if their experience is worth their money.
Setting expectations in the description is part of collecting good reviews. But most of it happens through connections you make with your guests. Flexibility and responsiveness make for a more positive experience.
When [I] Embrace people … because they had so much fun – that's my favorite part.
And sometimes it's time to set boundaries to create a positive experience. For Quinlan, running a solar powered bee farm is hard work, and he does not want to be afraid to run one tour after the other. So he keeps it at about two bookings a week. And to maintain the quality of its kayak tours, Cano limits its group size to 10 kayakers per guide – not the most profitable model in the short term. But it allows him to interact more with his guests.
"Treat everyone as if they are the only customer you will ever have," said Cano. "Not only do people want to go home and smile, but they also want to go home and smile and take their phone or computer out and write about you."
Adam Hardy is a member of The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in opportunities to earn money without being a complicated company office. Read hislatest article here, or say hello on Twitter @hardyjournalism,
Are you ready to stop worrying about money?
Get the Penny Hoarder Daily
Data Protection Policy