Photo courtesy of Airbnb Experience “San Rafael Swell Guided Adventure.”
Residents in the Castle Country area have the potential to make money from Airbnb, an online platform that helps travelers find places to stay and things to do.
Airbnb is widely known for its work with property owners from across the world. These property owners are able to rent out their spaces on the Airbnb website in order to bring in extra income and give travelers a homey place to stay.
Another aspect of Airbnb, which may not be as widely known but is steadily gaining traction, is the Airbnb Experience.
“Airbnb Experiences are activities designed and led by inspiring locals,” Airbnb shares on its website. “They go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing guests in each host’s unique world. It’s an opportunity for anyone to share their hobbies, skills or expertise without needing an extra room.”
A representative from Airbnb, along with the Carbon County Office of Tourism and Utah Office of Tourism, recently joined together to host an informational session on Airbnb Experiences and their potential in the area. Members of the community gathered at the Carbon County Commission Chambers to learn more and discover if they might be interested in hosting their own experience in Castle Country.
“This can provide a really fantastic opportunity to create local opportunities so that we can share what we love in the way we like to enjoy it with our visitors,” said Flint Timmins of the Utah Office of Tourism at the beginning of the session.
Rob Connolly of Airbnb then took the floor via webcam from Los Angeles. He has helped the company launch experiences throughout the United States since its inception nearly 2.5 years ago. To start, experiences were only available in 12 cities in the U.S. Now, over 1,000 cities with nearly 30,000 hosts has joined the phenomenon.
“Airbnb experiences are unique activities led by local experts,” Connolly said. Experiences can range from scenic tours to off-road and hiking adventures to ghost tours and cooking classes. “Quality is top of mind in all of these experiences.”
According to Connolly, Utah has a lot traction in the world of Airbnb Experiences as it sits in the top 25 markets in the U.S. Popular categories that travelers are looking for in various markets include sports, nature, classes/workshops, photography, history, health and wellness, music, dance performances, and food and drink. Conolly explained that the most popular Utah experiences have a strong focus on the outdoors.
Visitors benefit greatly from these unique experiences, gaining local access and insight, exploring their passions and meeting new people.
In turn, those wishing to be hosts have the opportunity to earn money by building a business that is essentially turn-key. Experience hosts do not have to be an Airbnb Lodging host; they just need to have a unique, personal experience to offer.
There is no cost to sign up to be an Airbnb Experience host. However, the company reminds potential hosts to that it will charge 20% of every booking, so that percentage should factor into the overall price of the experience.
However, with the 20% charge, hosts receive a lot in return. Airbnb does have a vetting process in order to ensure that each host is meeting certain standards. The company also has an liability policy for each host to cover them and their guests. In addition, hosts receive promotion by Airbnb as it cross-promotes experiences while people are booking lodging. Other benefits include 24-hour customer service, content services and more.
Finally, Connolly explained that the host can make their efforts as concise or grand as they would like. Each host has control over hours, pricing, the amount of guests allowed and more.
Some hosts have already begun leading experiences in Southeastern Utah. There is a guided adventure on the San Rafael Swell as well as a hike through the Goblin’s Lair. Also in Green River, travelers can experience yoga with goblins at the state park.
To learn more about Airbnb Experiences, explore experiences options and sign up to become a host, please click here.