Up in the AirBNB

Randle at sunset

The Horsfall House in the afternoon sun

The Doors sang, “People are strange, when you’re a stranger.” But since we put our country house on AirBNB, the people we’ve met have been anything but strange.

AirBNB is to lodging what Uber is to cars for hire. As of early January of 2015, it had booked more than 25 million reservations in 92 countries.

Our vacation home is in the insanely beautiful Cascade Mountain area of Washington State. We hadn’t been using it very much because of the work we were doing on our new retail store, Alki Surf Shop, in West Seattle. So we thought it made sense to let other people take advantage of it. The listing was begun in 2013, but wasn’t activated it until last fall when a friend enquired about renting our house. It seemed like it was as good a time as any to give it a try.

Before creating our listing, I did some research to see what kinds of properties were available in the area, how they were priced, and what kinds of amenities they included. Then I began the process of collecting images of our home, and writing descriptions, with the goal being 1) honest representations and 2) highlighting the positive attributes.

Among the tools we’ve used to create and manage our presence, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has been great. Not only is the AirBNB app terrific, the Note 4 has enabled me to document changes in our house and share them on the site. Here are a few new ones:

Kitchen

A peek at the kitchen

Kitchen Nook

Looking into the breakfast nook

Living Room

The living room has a sleeper sofa that sleeps two

You can see, the quality of the photos are as good or better than most point-and-shoot pocket digital cameras! That’s because the camera on the Note 4 is amazing!

Toward dining room

Looking into the dining room from the living room

Verizon is the only carrier we have found to provide reliable service in Randle, Washington. We heard from one group who said they were able to get a signal on AT&T and to a lesser degree, T-Mobile, but the last time we were there (a week ago) AT&T at least, was zilch. Honestly, I don’t know what we’d do without Verizon. It has been our lifeline to the outside world.

My real-life bestie has using AirBNB in her travels, and has found some amazing places in the U.S. and abroad. I’d also heard of VRBO (Vacation rentals by owner), but felt more confident in AirBNB because of my friend’s personal (and positive) experiences.

I’m am AirBNB novice, but I’ve found ample support, both within the host communities, and from AirBNB itself. Each time I’ve had a question or issue, AirBNB has answered within 24 hours. The communities are even faster. Post a concern, and BOOM, help is there.

The experience has been largely positive, and we’ve learned through guest feedback, how to make our home even more hospitable. We’ve met people from far-off lands, as well as those from our own back yard. We discovered we share mutual IRL friends with one of our guests. Several people in another group work at a very popular restaurant here in Seattle, The Whale Wins, listed by Bon Appetit as one of the top 10 new restaurants in the U.S. in 2013. We enjoyed them so much, I made it a point to take our extended family there when we celebrated my birthday earlier this month. And trust me when I say the food was fabulous!

So how are a country house, AirBNB, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and an award-winning restaurant connected?

Through great technology and with help from Verizon.


AirBNB: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1229224

Alki Surf Shop: http://alkisurfshop.com/

Terri Nakamura: https://twitter.com/terrinakamura

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28 thoughts on “Up in the AirBNB

    • K, thanks for the feedback. Of all the people I know who use AirBNB, I’ve only heard one negative comment, and it concerned the sign up process. (They felt it was too invasive). From my standpoint, collecting information on the people who both rent and let their spaces is important and helps ensure a safe community.

    • Thanks a ton for the reply. By saying “when traveling in the States,” I’m thinking you live outside the U.S.? AirBNB operates in 92 countries last I counted, so there’s a chance you could use it in your own back yard! Thanks again 🙂

    • Adriana, thanks a ton. My husband and I have a lot of sweat equity invested in this place 🙂 Recently I attended the Seattle Gift Show and had a conversation with one of our vendors in Colorado. He and his daughter were renting an apartment near our house and they found it on AirBNB! I was surprised, but when he told me how little they were paying, I could see how beneficial it is for travelers who own small businesses. Warm regards and thank you again!

  1. Pingback: Up in the AirBNB | Greatpoetrymhf's Weblog

  2. This place looks like a wonderful house for a vacation. I have used Air Bnb all over the country with excellent results. All the owners seem pleased with the easy rental process. I used to be a travel agent and go to great lengths to find private rentals…now it is the cheapest as well as the easiest way to stay.

    • Thank you, Pam. It’s a pretty great place.As I mentioned in the post, I learned about it from my BFF who travels a lot and has secured some really incredible places using AirBNB. As a former travel agent, your opinion is really a great endorsement! Wishing you a happy new week!

    • Aussie, thanks for reading. The lamps, which look a bit like ship lanterns, are great! I appreciate the comment! All the photos above were shot using my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 — a super device and camera!

  3. What a lovely quaint house, my wife would simply adore it (and so do I)! Speaking of which I must show her the beauty of the Washington area, I know she’ll drool over the interior, especially the wood.

    I can hear her saying “Well, these people have some class”!, with a very staunch, pompous British accent.

    Très beau my friend!

    • Dear Ahad,

      Thanks for reading the post. The house is, indeed, very quaint. Someone described it as a little museum because it’s filled with artifacts.

      It’s very special to me that we’ve shared a friendship for so many years. I really hope to have the chance to meet you both some day!

      Warm regards, Terri

      PS. Your wife has a British accent? How cool is that?

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