Monday, March 25, 2013


In December Ian and I decided to list our basement on Airbnb. We learned about Airbnb from some friends who have used it when traveling in Europe. We were originally just going to use it to find places to stay for our upcoming trip to Europe, but after learning more about it we realized that we have a great space in our house that is rarely used and could be a potential money-maker. One of airbnb's enticing lines to draw in potential hosts is: "Live a richer life: You could be making money with what you already have."

I was pretty wary at first. I was worried about the safety of our family, theft, vandalism- normal things you might worry about when considering opening your home to strangers. What finally made me feel comfortable with it is the fact that Airbnb has several steps users have to go through to confirm their identity including creating a detailed profile. I figured that if you know someone's name, phone number, occupation, and have picture of them they are probably not going to do anything nefarious while staying with you. Ian also installed a new door lock with key-pad entry so that instead of handing out keys and facing the possibility of people losing them or not returning them we just program in a new code for each guest and then wipe it as soon as they leave. The best thing is that we can choose to accept or decline anyone's reservation request. If you seem creepy on your profile then I don't want you sleeping in my basement.

Since we started hosting in December we have had about about eight or nine bookings. The shortest being one night and the longest being nine nights. We have had a medical student, a man who was obviously going through a mid-life crisis, a philosopher, a few conference goers, and some people just passing through Salt Lake. I tend to be a pretty shy person, so it's been an interesting experience to welcome people into my home while acting like I'm outgoing. One of the most interesting things for me, which I didn't expect, is that I worry about the people who stay with us. For example, Mr. Mid-Life Crisis decided to come to Utah on a whim to try skiing for the first time in his life. When he didn't return when he said he would I seriously thought about calling Snowbird to see if there had been any major accidents on the mountain that day.

Overall the experience has been good so far (knock on wood). It's definitely been a nice way to make some extra money for our Europe trip. It's also been fun to meet people from all over the country and world. It has definitely expanded my world view in a few different ways. Here's to more great guests!


  1. You guys are so cool. If we had a basement setup like yours, I would DEFINITELY consider doing that same thing, ESPECIALLY during the ski season!
    I've found a similar enjoyment in humanity when interacting with people I buy stuff from (or sell stuff to) on the KSL classifieds. The interesting stories and kind people from all walks of life that you briefly cross paths with heavily outnumber the few jerks we've had the unfortunate chance of meeting through the process. At least through airbnb you can profile the possibilites and decline if you so choose.

  2. Wow, that is so interesting. On the flip side, we have had really great experiences renting through AirBnB. I love showing up at a place and there is a local resident there who can tell you the hot spots and good restaurants. We've met some really intriguing people!