Room for Rent 2

Local Homeowners List Room on Airbnb

Bed and breakfasts have their roots in colonial America, when travel was harsh and lodgings were scarce. In the centuries that followed the first B&Bs, pop culture has had some fun with them in road trip comedies and romantic films. Silver screen B&Bs are always the same: old, out-of-the-way homes owned by elderly kooks with an affinity for ceramic knick-knacks and cold sandwiches. For decades there was nothing modern about the bed and breakfast. All that changed when the Internet gave proprietors a convenient way to list their rooms for all to see and mobile technology streamlined the process through apps like Airbnb.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is an online marketplace for those looking to list or book a room or home. According to their website, Airbnb boasts over 2,000,000 listings across the world. With just a few clicks on their popular mobile app, travelers can find a room in more than 34,000 cities in more than 190 countries. Whether you’re looking for a hip, urban loft, a chic seaside villa or a historic European castle, Airbnb offers all varieties of places to stay. Some of those places are right here in West Chester and Liberty Township.

Amanda isn’t the stereotypical B&B owner you see in the movies—she’s not elderly, and she’s no shut-in. A Southern California transplant, she, her husband, and their son, moved to the area three years ago when positions at Procter & Gamble beckoned. Amanda listed their guest room on Airbnb after fixing it up, and she’s had a steady stream of visitors and income since. According to her, there is nothing particularly spectacular about the guest room, except that it is well-kept.

“It’s your typical bedroom,” she says. “It’s about 15×20 square feet, it has a Queen bed and a TV. In terms of furniture, it has a dresser and a chaise lounge.”

Amanda also offers lodgers a private bathroom fully stocked with P&G products and access to all common areas of her home. She reports, however, that travelers rarely use much of the common space.

“Some people will make a meal in the kitchen, or have a glass of wine on the deck. One long-term guest was a big fan of The Walking Dead, so he used to watch it on the projector screen in the basement. But it’s not like we entertain anyone; people spend 90% of their time in the guest room,” she says.

People stay in Amanda’s home for a variety of reasons. She gets a lot of one-night guests in town for weddings, college graduations, or the Western & Southern Open. She’s even welcomed a retired Australian couple traveling the world by staying exclusively in rooms listed on Airbnb. A couple of guests, in town to complete consulting contracts, have stayed for months at a time. No matter where her guests have come from, the age bracket they fall into, or the length of their stay, Amanda has had nothing but positive experiences.

Part of the reason Airbnb is so popular is that it goes to considerable lengths to ensure the safety and success of its users. All initial communication is done via the Airbnb website or app, and users cannot list or book a room without uploading a photo. Also, Airbnb prevents the exchange of personal information like phone numbers and email addresses until a room is booked. The company offers to take professional photographs of listings and provides a free “Host Guarantee” that commits to reimbursing eligible hosts for damages up to $1 million. Airbnb has done a remarkable job eliminating fears and objections people may have to using their service.

Your seldom-used guest room could be an asset. From corporate contractors to vacationers looking for thrills at Kings Island, out-of-towners are here year-round, and some of them look to Airbnb for a place to stay. As more businesses move into the region and the area’s reputation as a family-entertainment destination grows, so does the value of every unused bed in your home. Listing a room on Airbnb is a proven way to generate income, make new friends and show visitors why West Chester and Liberty Township are fantastic places to live.