I regard Property Flipping, Renting and Airbnb as the Big 3 when it comes to accessible real estate investments; in almost every case where you own residential property, if you can do one of the three – you can do all of the three.
Airbnb is the youngest of the Big 3 and as with most cases of being the youngest sibling; Airbnb is the most rebellious and free member of the family and in no other case is this more evident than with its latest introduction of Airbnb Experiences.
What are Airbnb Experiences?
Airbnb itself defines “Experiences” as activities that go beyond tours or classes, they are designed and led by locals all over the world. To show off an individuals’ city, craft, cause, or culture by hosting an experience.
Unlike the traditional foundation of Airbnb and the other big 3; “Experiences” have nothing to do with actually owning or utilizing any form of real estate or providing any form of accommodation in the traditional sense.
Instead, “Experiences” make your city the primary form of real estate instead of any owned property and make you and your skills the main attraction. Thereby essentially cementing Airbnb as the undeniable leading form of real estate when it comes to accessibility. All you need is a City and A Skill
*Note: Though “Experiences” are the most accessible form of real estate investing; they are also new; having been launched in 2016. The service is fast growing but as of yet; may not be available in your location.
This post will cover everything you need to know about Airbnb “Experiences;” from setup, effectively running your own, how to get it offered in your location and what to do while it’s not offered in your location.
How to set up an Airbnb experience?
Setting up Airbnb Experiences is essentially a 2 phase procedure where Phase 1 is the Pre-Airbnb setup and Phase 2 is the actual Airbnb setup.
Phase 1 is all the work you need to do to make sure your “Experiences” plan is viable for you. This consists of evaluating what you can and cannot do for the “Experience” idea or ideas you have.
Phase 2 is when you set up everything you would have already planned in Phase 1 on the Airbnb platform and submit it for review and verification by Airbnb to be advertised on their platform.
Phase1 – Pre-Airbnb Setup.
The following will cover some crucial considerations you will need to make before launching your “Experience” on the platform:
1. Decide what you want to do and what you can do passionately.
As Airbnb stated itself, they don’t want experiences to be treated as a basic run of the mill tours or classes; they want “Experiences” to be a one of a kind adventures that are done through your lens of your city and your offering.
Finding something that you are already passionate about and competent at will do more for you than trying to find something you can charge a lot for.
You are also able to run more than one “Experience” on the platform; If you are passionate and competent enough to run more than one “Experience” do so. Just make sure you map out how you would schedule the offerings.
2. Know how you want to do it.
Airbnb Experiences like the traditional Airbnb service can be run as a full-time or part-time job.
Unlike the traditional accommodation service of Airbnb where you could schedule the availability of your property with just season and dates in mind – “Experiences,” if done part-time; will require you to have planned out your schedule while accounting for the season, days and time you will offer your experience.
Can you run your “Experience” multiple times a day or does it have to be done between a specific time only and how will your daily routine be influenced by running the experience?
Unlike accommodative Airbnb, “Experiences” need you to be there and to participate at high a high enough level to give your guests an experience worth giving a positive review.
3. Is this an “Experience” Airbnb would condone, verify and approve?.
It’s one thing to be passionate about the “Experience” idea you want to do and another thing to be competent enough to offer the “Experience” as a worthwhile activity you can charge for but finally, is it an “Experience” idea that Airbnb would like associated with its brand?
Airbnb essentially makes starting up an “Experience” as simple and easy as humanly possible; you are given the platform which will freely advertise for you, connect you to qualified customers and carry the heavy work of connecting you to your guests.
For this, they charge you a percentage of the price your charge your service for as well as ensuring that what you offer is something Airbnb as a brand can be proud of.
All “Experiences” will go through a screening process to which they are either verified or denied approval to be listed on the platform. Look at your idea, is it something Airbnb already allows or would be happy to associate with?
4. Know how to charge.
From a strictly business perspective, because “Experiences” are more accessible than the accommodative side of Airbnb; be prepared for it to be far more competitive.
You might be able to give a unique personal twist on the activity but there’s a high chance that someone else will be offering that same activity with their own unique personal twist.
As a personal suggestion from the research I have conducted, I would recommend you start with a “rolling pebbles” approach with your pricing whereby you start your “Experience” with your ideal fee in mind but then discount that fee drastically, to begin with.
This is because, at the start of your “Experience” journey you should be aiming for traction, positive reviews, and positive comments to give you credibility that would allow you to charge a higher price down the line.
5. Run a test-drive on your circle (friends, family acquaintances).
How do you know, you can do what you want to do, if you’ve never done it?
The people who have paid you for your Airbnb “Experience” should not be the first people you test out your experience on. That position goes to your friends, family, and acquaintances.
These are the people you need to use to fine-tune your “Experience” so you are aware of what you need to do to run it successfully and enjoyably. Organizing transportation, co-ordinating an average-sized group for your “Experience,” etc.
Do this once or twice before setting up your “Experience” on Airbnb; get some hard feedback and prepare for a proper launch.
*As a bonus, doing this will also give you plenty of excellent natural photos and videos of your “Experience” to help you advertise better on the platform.
Phase 2 – Airbnb Setup.
On the platform, Airbnb makes it a simple and straight forward task to set up your “Experience.” I am going to give a light detail of the procedure below and if you would like to visit the pages yourself; you can find them (HERE).
Submitting your experience
1. Your idea.
2. What Airbnb is looking for.
This segment outline what Airbnb expects out of “Experience” hosts, the 3 pillars being Experience, Expertise and Connection
3. Basic Information.
Information on who you can and want to interact with as a host. You will identify the languages you can speak competantly, the audience you want and you background with association to your selected theme.
4. Experience Page.
This section is all about describing the experience you intend to give guests. It will ask you about the following:
- About you.
- What you will do with guests.
- The location of the “Experience.”
- What you will provide for the “Experience.”
- What guests should bring for the “Experience.”
- Naming your “Experience.”
- Photos advertising your “Experience.”
This section helps you outline the excecution of your experience and will ask you to answer questions on the following:
- Meeting location,
- Notes on what guests should know about the “Experience.”
- Guest requirements.
- The group size you want to work with.
- The time the “Experience” starts and how long it is for.
- Notice and cut-off times.
How To Run An Airbnb Experience? (Tips and Tricks)
How To Be The Best Guest / Offer The Best Experience)?
1. Be unique.
You don’t have to invent the wheel to provide a successful and popular “Experience” but you should find a way to make it shine a different glow from what people have seen before.
Show the hidden gems of your city in a way that only a local would know, where are all the incredible sights, traditional foods, unique locations?
That is where you need to take and involve people for your “Experience” – Anyone can do a photo-shoot but only you can do a photo-shoot near your cities star attraction.
2. Be inquisitive, informative and positive.
More often than not, the people who will partake in your “Experience” have never been in your city before or have never gotten to explore your city in the way you described you would show them.
Be expectant, prepared and excited for questions to arise. Airbnb wants you to provide an experience that has people come to you as strangers and leave as guests.
Revel in the idea of people being excited and curious about your city and specific amenity and be curious about them and where they came from.
3. Write out everything that you are going to do and offer.
The only good surprise is a wanted free surprise – Keep this in mind.
You are only one misunderstanding or unspecified detail away from a spiteful negative review and comment which could hurt your offering for a very long time.
No one can complain that they had to take a bus and weren’t chauffeured to get to the location of your amenity if it was blatantly specified on your description page, in bold.
What they can and will get annoyed at is if it wasn’t specified that they would need to organize their transportation and you just expected them to know that.
You don’t need to provide everything but you do need to make it clear what you are and aren’t providing
4. Start at a discount; earn trust and reviews.
I mentioned this about it, but I’ll repeat it here. Start your “Experience” with a clear ideal price you’d want in your head and discount that price to something largely attractive that will allow you to earn reviews and exposure.
Once you build a trusted “Experience” brand with many positive reviews and comments as testimonials; you can start ramping up your price.
5. Connect with your local areas for the advantage.
A way you can separate yourself from the pack with making your “Experience” the ideal choice for guests for your specific offering is by making connections that will help you provide the next level of spectacle for your field.
If you wanted to do a food tour, for example, you could ask the specific restaurants to give you a secluded area or reserve a table for your guests, If you’re hiking, ask the local staff of the area to give you tips on the best days and times to come when it’s not too busy and if you were doing an art-class; you could get sponsoring from a local brand in return for only using their equipment and mentioning it during the class.
You don’t have to give your partners a financial commission to help you (though that could help) but you can make it clear that you’d be giving exposure to them.
6. Offer something as a thank you – make it unique/traditional.
When everything is said and done, add a bit of personal intimacy to say goodbye and thank you to your guests.
A traditional trinket of your city or a unique gift related to the offering of your “Experience” could be exactly what you needed to earn a referral, extra star on your rating and the memorability of a repeat visit.
7. If you don’t get feedback, politely request it – they can forget/get busy.
Positive reviews of your “Experience” are as much a form of currency as the money you’ll earn. Make sure to request them when all is said and done.
Just inform your guests that it would help you to continue doing what you love and providing others with an adventure in the same way you did for them (which was hopefully a positive experience).
If you don’t get a review for an “Experience” you know was top-notch, give it some time and then contact your guests and request one, they could have easily forgotten or gotten sidetracked by everything else they had to do.
How To Get Airbnb Experiences In Your City?
As previously mentioned, Airbnb Experiences is a fairly new concept for the company and might not be available in your area. You can, however, accelerate the process by going to their “Experiences” page and setting up and submitting your idea there. This will at least put it on their radar that there is interest.
Airbnb Experiences has been launching faster than ever before but it is still in its infancy; It might not happen overnight but if you make it known that you want to do it where you are, you would have contributed to getting it launched in your city just a bit sooner.
Can you be an Airbnb host without Airbnb?
The wheel hasn’t exactly been innovated with Airbnb Experiences, the company is just making it easy and simple for everyone to make a wheel.
“Experiences” are at their core intimate tours. The largest benefit Airbnb gives and charges 20% for is that the brand provides a platform whereby people can easily and freely advertise their “Experiences” to the large audience of people looking up Airbnb accommodation in your city.
Nothing is stopping you if you are prepared to do the work to connect with your local Airbnb accommodation hosts, hotels, bed and breakfasts and other amenities and partnering with them to advertise your non-Airbnb Experiences for you.
Personal intimate tourism is not a new thing, doing it yourself will involve more work and costs to advertise than would have been the case if you worked with Airbnb. But it is possible.
The types of Airbnb Experiences.
If you have decided to go down the “Experience” road, below are a few of the broad themes Airbnb has already approved for you to take a pick on:
Airbnb Approved Themes (Table)
|Art and Design-45||Culture and History-32||Life and Style-6|
|Magic-4||Movies, TV or Radio-13||Music-3|
|Transportation Activities-23||Adrenaline sports-12||Combat Sports-6|
|Fitness and Recreation-26||Mountain Sports-6||Raquet Sports-12|
|Snow Sports-9||Target Sports-19||Team Sports-39|
The numbers next to the above-mentioned themes indicate the number of specific “Experiences” under that theme.
For example, the 3 “Experiences” available under the Music Theme are:
- Music classes.
- Music festivals.
Are Airbnb Experiences worth it?
The Advantages and disadvantages of Airbnb Experiences:
Advantages and Disadvantages of Airbnb Experiences (Table)
|Easy to use platform.||The 20% fee.|
|Provided audience.||You’re dependant on Airbnb.|
|Cheaper than going at it alone.||Availability.|
|Do what you love and get paid for it (quicker).||You’re restricted to Airbnb approved Themes.|
|The brand.||Is it legal?|
Advantages Of Airbnb Experiences.
1. Easy to use platform.
Setting up your own “real estate” business hasn’t been this simple since, well since Airbnb launched its accommodation service.
The platform tells you everything you need to know and how you need to do it to maximize your chances of running successful “Experiences.”
20+ steps are simply displayed to help you set up your “Experience.”
2. Provided audience.
Anyone who’s started any form of business will tell you that the hardest part of it was proving the concept well enough for the first person to take a chance on you.
This is not the case when you are being advertised by Airbnb, they’ve already proved themselves in the market and if they are vouching for you, you must be worth trying out.
3. Cheaper than going at it alone.
Concerning the above statement, Airbnb will save you huge amounts of time and money that you would have had to spend on advertising to attract an audience.
The company gives you a free audience of all its users who are visiting your city and are interested in what you are offering.
The time and money that you would have had to invest to be knowledgeable on who exactly is interested in your service and through what channels (that aren’t Airbnb) would you find them and at what price are not to be underestimated.
4. Do what you love and get paid for it (quicker).
At the end of the day, Airbnb provides you a near dreamlike opportunity of making your hobbies your job and a well-paying job at that.
It’s not that you wouldn’t be able to do this on your own as I described in the previous part, but it’s almost undeniable that you would be able to do it faster and at less of a risk than if you did it through Airbnb.
5. The brand.
The best form of credibility you can have is that of many positive reviews and comments. Next to that, the next best form of credibility you can have is that of a trusted organization such as Airbnb.
If an individual was to visit your city and find accommodation through Airbnb, you as an independent local “Experience” provider would have to fight a very steep uphill battle to compete for the individuals’ business against a supported Airbnb Experience host.
*An uphill battle is not an impossible battle. But it is a harder one.
Disadvantages Of Airbnb Experiences.
1. Airbnb takes 20% fee.
Airbnb does a lot for you, but they don’t exactly do it out of the kindness of their heart.
Of whatever price you charge for your experience, the brand claims 20% for itself; when you’re starting and charging discounted rates, this can hurt.
2. You’re dependant on Airbnb.
The customers you interact with on Airbnb are never really your customers, they’re Airbnbs’. They just connect the customers to you.
This keeps you in a zone of potential risk, you depend on Airbnb, Airbnb does not depend on you. If anything was to ever happen to Airbnb while it was your main source of income. This would be a disaster for you.
Individuals with physical properties can always fall back on the other avenues of the Big 3 if Airbnb collapsed due to state laws or any other influences – those being Flipping or Renting.
If your income was fully dependant on Airbnb Experiences, you would have nothing to fall back on.
3. You’re restricted to Airbnb approved Themes.
In total, Airbnb offers hundreds of themes for you to pick and run “Experiences.” More often than not, the “Experience” you want to provide is possible through the company.
That does not take away from the fact that the contents of the list, for better or for worse; are malleable. If Airbnb decided that the “Experience” you were providing didn’t suit the brands’ ideals or image and they cut it off – there is almost nothing you could do but request and hope that they change their mind.
This is also the case if by chance the brand does not offer the “Experience” you want to do.
One of the biggest drawbacks of Airbnb Experiences at the moment is the fact that it’s not available everywhere and if it’s currently not available where you are, there’s no telling when it will be.
There are steps to help move the process along as stated in the above Part. Though this does help, you never know just how much it helps.
If the availability of Airbnb Experiences is based on city size and tourism appeal, Small countries and cities would get the short-end of the stick regardless of how certain you are that your “Experience” would be a hit.
This leaves you with two options; be hopeful and patient that it comes to your city next or go at it alone where there are more expenses and risk
*A light at the end of the tunnel for this disadvantage is that Airbnb has made it public in a 2020 news update that they plan to further expand the reach of “Experiences” this year. News found (HERE).
5. Is it legal?
The ever nagging disadvantage of Airbnb is its standing with the law; specifically the fact that that depending on where you are, the legality ranges from illegal, legal or no one knows.
This was the case with Airbnbs’ accommodation service and is probably worse for the new “Experiences” service.
Don’t be caught on the wrong side of the law, because Airbnb won’t come to your rescue. Check with your tax association as well as the real estate council before pursuing this. The potential risks of assuming can be disastrous.
Airbnb continues to be the Uber of the real estate world for cranking up the “convenience” meter past 10. There has never been an easier way to enter the “real estate” world than through Airbnb Experiences and its implications on the global job market are immense.
Legality and Accessibility remain the largest stains on the mostly white sheet of praise for the service. If this is available in your city, you’ve checked your laws about it and you have an amazing idea – This could be IT for you.