Hosting an experience on Airbnb can be an exciting opportunity to grow your business and share your passion with guests around the world. The steps you take as you prepare to host your first experience are essential building blocks for your new venture. Adopting a thoughtful, entrepreneurial approach to hosting can help you understand your market, find the right guests, and propel your success.
Here’s are some ways an entrepreneurial mindset can help you hone your business skills as you launch and grow your experience:
1. Mission-Driven Entrepreneurship
Airbnb’s mission is to enable anyone to belong anywhere. That idea is at the core of our company: belonging. This philosophy guides everything we do as a company and every decision we make.
These people, along with millions of others, have their own unique backgrounds and life experiences. We all come from vastly different cultures and places. And yet, no matter how many miles may separate us, we are united by the universal, powerful, human desire to connect, to understand, and to belong. So together, with this new identity, I look forward to starting the next chapter of this improbable journey with the idea that first set it in motion—the belief that belonging can take us anywhere.
— Brian Chesky
A mission answers the question of why you are drawn to share your expertise through hosting an experience in the first place. Defining a clear mission will help you stay focused as you take risks, try new ideas, and get valuable feedback from your guests.
It can take time for a new business to gain momentum, and most “overnight” success stories required a lot of unseen hard work. A mission can keep you motivated and remind you of the bigger picture as you work to make your experience a success.
If you need guidance clarifying and formulating your mission, download our Experience Success Mission and Goals worksheet.
2. Innovate and Iterate
As you embrace your mission and lay the groundwork for your future success, remember that any new venture will bring unexpected challenges. Early on Airbnb faced financial difficulties, the founders found themselves in need of funds to keep the business alive. They came up with a buzz-worthy collectible, Obama-O’s and Captain McCain cereal, influenced by the 2008 election. They managed to design, craft and sell $30,000 worth before running out of funds.
We ended up making a thousand boxes of collectible breakfast cereal by hand. I literally had to hot glue a 1,000 boxes of cereal.
— Brian Chesky
By embracing challenges, staying positive, and trusting the Airbnb mission, our founders were able to get through, and even gain media attention, during some of the hardest times. Being open to new ideas (paired with determination and grit) may lead to even more entrepreneurial success.
Embracing creativity and flexibility can enable you to continue to refine your experience, and improvisation may give you insight into a new opportunity or direction for your experience.
As hosts learn more about their guests, many experiment with new ideas. You have the power to run your business in the way that feels true to you and your mission. If you are feeling stuck or not getting the results you hoped for, test different approaches to discover what works best for your audience when it comes to attracting guests and earning stellar reviews.
After a slow start, I considered ways I could lower my prices. I used to offer a caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail, to each guest on my tour. I tested out removing the drink from the experience and was then able to not only offer my tour for less, but I also now could have guests of all ages join me. This change really helped my bookings grow.
– Gabriela, host of Get to know Little Africa and it’s heritage in Rio.
3. Focus on Delivering Magic
I found more clarity when I really focused on what would best serve my guests –– what were they getting out of this? I asked myself, what did people attending my experience want to feel? They wanted to feel, like Airbnb says, like they belong anywhere.
— Melanie, host of Meditate at the Beach in Los Angeles, California
We’ve covered how important your mindset can be to your progress as a host, and your guest’s mindset is the second half of a successful equation. We’ve found the hosts that consider their guests’ safety, frame of mind, and journey, create magical experiences that lead to 5-star reviews (and lifelong connections).
Many of your guests will be traveling, and it’s likely they feel vulnerable and, at the same time, open to new experiences. Recent neurological studies claim traveling increases the neuroplasticity of the brain, aiding innovation and creativity. What a magical time to spend with your guests!
How can you use your guests’ vulnerable and creative mindset to your advantage? Start by creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive space for your guests. Consider your guests’ ideas, perspective, and needs through the entire journey of your experience, from finding your meetup spot, to how you’ll close out your experience.
I try to entertain everyone and put my 200% effort in accommodating every one of them. Showing your hospitality really matters. I always have “ichigo-ichie” spirit in my mind. “Ichigo-ichie” means “once in a lifetime experience or opportunity”. This word and its philosophy originally came from a tea ceremony theory connected to Buddhism. Hosts should do their best to prepare everything for their once in a lifetime experience.
– Tenshin, the host of the social impact experience Brush and Ink
With a flexible, mission-driven, entrepreneurial approach to hosting, we’ve seen many hosts not only find success but also make meaningful life-long connections with open-minded people from all over the world.
Take a few minutes to review your listing and update your “About Me” section to incorporate your mission, so your guests know where you are coming from and what drives you. Consider highlighting the ways you’re a thoughtful host, and how you have planned to meet your guests’ unique needs.