For Dutch hosts Frans and Minck, every trip has a story. And sometimes the stories with the toughest chapters turn out to have the brightest moments.
Each year the Airbnb community honors exceptional hosts by choosing Host Award winners who are celebrated at Airbnb Open. Frans won the Memorable Arrival award in 2015 after making a deep impression on his guest, Raquel. Upon arriving from Brazil to the Netherlands, Raquel was suffering from back pain, lost her money, and couldn’t find the right bus to get to Frans’ listing. But then her phone rang, and all of a sudden, she knew she had a friend close by. Frans was on his way to pick her up.
On the surface, his help was quite practical, but what set this welcome apart from just a ride home was the conversation they had on the way. Raquel remembers, “He picked me up at the airport with a smile on his face and started talking to me about how life can be beautiful and that I don’t need to worry about small things.” Frans shared how after losing his wife in a car accident, he faced the challenge of creating a new life for himself and his 11 year old son, Minck.
By welcoming guests on Airbnb, Frans was able to quit his job so he could spend more time with Minck. Together they prepared their home to be a place where guests are treated like family, and where, Frans says, new friends fill up a gap in his family’s life. Frans loves to create the feeling of welcome even before his guests arrive at the listing, so it’s not unusual for him to meet guests at the airport.
“I know to take a look at the brighter side helps me,” says Frans. And that attitude shows in their home. From the family photos in the entrance, to the playful tradition of having guests sign the bathroom wall, Frans and Minck make this charming home a place guests love to belong.
For Raquel, this hospitality was more than memorable: “Frans has inspired me to see how life can be beautiful, even with sad things that happen. I can say that my life has changed after I met him.”
Frans’ advice on hosting and on life: “Be open, be flexible, stay open.”