Photo: Surprise! These kittens can go home with you. Shutterstock
It Is Part Of The Growing “Share Economy”
The “share economy” refers to the start-ups that allow people to use the things that they already have but may not always use to earn extra money. Uber will enable people who own a car to make extra money by driving people around; they get paid for driving their own vehicles, while passengers save on what would be an otherwise expensive taxi fare.
With Airbnb, people share a room that they already have in their own homes. They can earn passive income by allowing travelers to stay in that room, though they do have to make sure that the place remains clean.
It Was Started By Some Friends Trying To Make Extra Money
Airbnb was started in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk. They rented out a spare room in San Francisco as a bed and breakfast to earn some extra income. When a big conference came to town, hotels all across the bay area were sold out. The friends realized how big the market for home-sharing could actually be.
They created a website and called it airbedandbreakfast.com to create a marketplace for home-sharing. They even funded their own start-up by selling a breakfast cereal that caricatured the 2008 presidential race – Cap’n McCains and Obama O’s.
Growth hacking is a strategy – or rather, a series of strategies – that many start-ups use to get fast growth and visibility. The founders of airbedandbreakfast.com used some sophisticated coding to make all of the listings that appeared on their website also show up on CraigsList.
The result was that people who were searching on CraigsList for a spare room would also see the places that were offered on airbedandbreakfast.com. The website quickly soared in popularity. The founders also did some rebranding, naming the site Airbnb and working with investors who wanted a stake in the company’s profits. Airbnb flew.
People With A Spare Bed Can List Their Homes To Make Extra Money
The idea is pretty simple. Anyone who has a spare bed can list it on the website. While most travelers certainly prefer to have their own room, there are always some who will take the cheapest option, even if they can’t have as much privacy as they might like. Some hostels listed on Airbnb have over a dozen beds in each room.
When travelers stay for the night, hosts make money. The website pays the hosts directly, either through a direct deposit or a check in the mail. So that extra bed – sometimes even just an air mattress, though often much more – can turn into cash in the bank.
Travelers Looking For an Economical Option Can Book To Stay In Someone’s Home
Travelers on a budget, or travelers looking for a different kind of experience, or just travelers in general, can log into the website before their journey and find a place to stay. Homes listed on Airbnb are often significantly cheaper than hotels, and some are less than $20 per night.
Travelers pay in advance to book the home for the nights that they will be traveling. They get a more economical option, and the hosts that they stay with get extra money to pay for rent or the mortgage.
In the years since Airbnb was founded in 2008, it has soared in popularity as hosts have realized the potential for earning extra income every month. Many hosts now rent out entire homes – instead of booking just a bed or a single room, travelers can book a whole house for a rate that is still often cheaper than a hotel.
The potential for earning passive income every month is so great that some hosts have invested in properties so that they can rent them out in Airbnb. By renting them out on a nightly or weekly basis rather than a monthly basis through a renting tenant, they can earn more money.
It sounds like a win for everyone, right? Not quite. Hotel owners, for one, are not entirely happy with how AirBNB has taken business away from them. While before 2008, staying in a hotel was the default for people who were traveling, with Airbnb, staying in someone’s home is often the preferred choice.
Airbnb has spread to countries outside of the United States, and some countries, as well as some municipalities in the United States, have laws regulating home-sharing. For example, in the United Kingdom, residents are required to pay a council tax each month based on how many people reside in the home. Whether or not Airbnb guests should be counted as a resident in determining the amount of council tax has been a matter of debate.
Then there are concerns about it increasing tourism to unsustainable levels. With travel made much cheaper by Airbnb, many people are visiting countries that they might have otherwise been unable to attend. The result is that many residents are claiming that there are just too many tourists.
But as long as people are willing to continue hosting guests in their homes through Airbnb, there will be a demand for this kind of service. Many people struggle every month to pay their rent and rely on the income that Airbnb provides to fill in income gaps.
Despite all of the controversy surrounding Airbnb, it will probably continue because it meets so many critical needs. Budget-minded travelers are always looking for a cheap place to stay, and hosts looking to make extra income will open their doors.
Guests Can Have A Different Kind Of Travel Experience
In addition to often being cheaper than a hotel, Airbnbs provide a different kind of experience. Hotels are impersonal, and the rooms often contain little more than a bed, desk, and window. But an Airbnb room is part of someone’s home and is often more cozy and friendly.
Instead of professional clerks running the service desk and housekeeping making its rounds, guests can enjoy the company of a local family as part of their travel experience. Hosts can usually give tips about the best places to visit while in town.
Many people who are unfamiliar with AirBNB have concerns about the safety of home-sharing. And with good reason: you don’t know the person who is going to be staying inside your house! What if the person is actually a criminal and will rob you blind?
A do-it-yourself home-sharing scheme, such as listing your extra room on CraigsList, does not provide any protection, but Airbnb does. While criminal background checks are not involved, the website features built-in protections such as reviews, identity verification, and insurance.
Someone who is part of a minority group may have concerns that the person or family that hosts him or her may discriminate. For example, someone who is a Muslim may have reservations that the person he or she stays with thinks that all Muslims are terrorists.
But that kind of behavior is not tolerated. Before an account can become active on Airbnb, the user has to affirm that he or she will not discriminate in any way and will treat all people the same, regardless of race, religion, sex, or any other factor. If discrimination does occur, some people work at Airbnb and will address the issue immediately.
After every stay on Airbnb, both the host and the guest are asked to write a review of the experience. Guests comment on the cleanliness of the place, the friendliness of the host, and any issues. Hosts comment on how easy or difficult it was to accommodate the guest. No one gets to see the other’s reviews until they both post them.
This system ensures that there are transparency and accountability regarding both the hosts and the guests. Hosts know that if there is a problem with the space that they provide, they may get a bad review and lose business. Guests can be assured that if other people have had a positive experience in the home, then they probably will, too.
What if you are hosting someone in your home in good faith, only to wake up in the morning to find that the guest took off in the middle of the night with all of the bedding and the coffee pot? That scenario is a host’s worst nightmare, and there have been situations like it on Airbnb.
For this reason, Airbnb provides up to $1 million in security insurance for hosts in the event of damages made by guests staying in the home. While no one wants to go through the draining process of filing a claim to get financial reimbursement, there is security that hosting on Airbnb will not result in a financial loss.
In case there are problems for either the hosts or guests at any point during the stay, AirBNB staff are available by phone at any time of the day or night. For issues related to money or other sensitive topics, the company wants people to call the help desk directly instead of risk getting into an argument with the guest or host.
All of these features help make Airbnb reasonably secure. The fact is that anywhere you stay somewhere, even in your own home, you take a risk that something will happen. But Airbnb’s security measures help provide peace of mind for people traveling and those hosting them.
The vast majority of places listed on Airbnb are relatively simple. They involve a bed, often a private room, and sometimes an entire home. Decorations are pleasant, and while the experience is memorable, it is not unforgettable.
But some places on Airbnb are different. They provide an experience that is a vacation in and of itself, such as sleeping in a treehouse in a forest or staying in an igloo with walls made of ice. These experiences are designed to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Have you heard of an Earthship? It is a type of home that is designed to be in sync with the natural environment. Earthships are generally off the grid, meaning that they are not connected to utilities such as power, water, and internet. They are also made of upcycled materials, such as mud or repurposed tires, instead of materials that require mining, foresting, or other ecologically intrusive actions.
One Airbnb home in Taos, New Mexico, is an Earthship that catches its own rainwater for use in around-the-home activities. For power, it generates its own electricity. In addition to having an environmentally friendly stay, guests can enjoy the majestic scenery of the high desert mesas.
That’s right, you and your guests can stay in a Medieval castle. One such castle is located in the Kingdom of Fife in Scotland, 15 minutes away from the historic city of Saint Andrews and a short train ride from Edinburgh and Glasgow. You can enjoy all of the natural beauty of Scotland, as well as its profound history, without even leaving the premises.
Are you worried about the wet and cold Scottish weather made worse by the dreariness of a Medieval castle? Not to fret, the castle was completely restored to have all the comforts of the twenty-first century.
Are you looking for an exotic vacation where you can get in touch with nature instead of searching for a spot on an overcrowded beach surrounded by high rises? There is an Airbnb home in Costa Rica that is situated in a rainforest reserve and surrounded by four acres of private property.
The wooden cabin provides expansive views of the rainforest, as well as a human-made lake nearby. It is just a half-hour ride from the San Jose airport and an easy one hour from beaches. But the rainforest provides so much relaxation that you might decide to forego the beach altogether.
Another home on Airbnb is part of the Inkijkmuseum in the Netherlands, a world-renowned contemporary art museum. That’s right; you get to stay inside the museum! And it also wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that the room itself is part of the museum, as it is a shipping container that has been converted into a piece of modern art.
That’s right, you and your companions can stay inside a shipping container that is, in itself, a mini art museum. It actually features over 150 small pieces of art and can provide a fresh perspective on the best art of all: the art of living.
Have you ever wished you could spend a night in a yurt? A yurt is a traditional type of dwelling typical in Central Asia, especially in desert places such as Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Tajikistan. But you don’t have to travel that far in order to stay in a yurt.
One Airbnb listing is a yurt in Nuremberg, Germany. Two people can sleep comfortably inside the tent-like structure, which features a charming bed and furnishings that are reminiscent of The 1001 Arabian Nights. Think of it as glamping taken to a whole new level.
Did you ever have a treehouse as a kid? Did you get to spend the night in it? The golden ticket was if you could have your friends spend the night up in it with you. If you never got to experience this childhood fantasy, or if you did and want to recreate it, you can rent a treehouse home on Airbnb.
Just imagine staying in a treehouse that is built with enough stability that it has a bed and other furniture items. When you wake up, you can feel like you are part of nature by listening to the birds and feeling the breeze that blows through the trees.
You probably read about pioneers crossing the country in their covered wagons when you were in elementary or middle school. These were large, horse-drawn vehicles that were topped with a canopy that would protect all of the things – and people – being transported inside them.
One Airbnb home in Wyoming is literally a retrofitted covered wagon. It was initially used in the 1920s by ranch hands who were herding livestock but is now full of modern amenities. You and three guests can comfortably sleep inside of it and imagine that you, yourselves, are brave pioneers.
Santorini is an island off the coast of Greece that is renowned for its remarkable beaches and majestic views. Oh, and it’s also an active volcano that seismologists are constantly monitoring because it could blow its top at any time. But that threat doesn’t stop people from living there or tourists from visiting to take in its world-class beauty.
If you want a luxury vacation with the hair-raising risk of fire and brimstone, then you could book an Airbnb home on Santorini located inside a traditional fisherman’s cave. The home features an ocean view that will be impossible to forget.
One Airbnb rental in France is a glass dome situated out in the middle of nature. What this means is that lying in bed at night, you will see the moon and stars in full view. When you wake up in the morning, you will be surrounded by the sight of trees and birds flying through them. This unique rental offers a new perspective on how you can get in touch with nature.
And there are plenty of other unforgettable places that you can book on Airbnb, from a “dragon house” in Sussex, England, to a restored windmill in the British countryside, to a Roma caravan, to a pyramidal house in Iceland. The list of unique places to stay seems to grow by the minute.
Kitten BNB is just what it sounds like: it’s an Airbnb rental that comes with a set of kittens. That’s right, your travel experience on Airbnb can come with its own set of kittens for you to cuddle and play with. Not just one kitten, but as many as half a dozen or more!
But here’s the best part: after your stay, you can take one of the kittens home with you by adopting it. What could possibly be better than staying in a home where you are surrounded by playful, cuddly kittens who are waiting to be taken?
Jess and her husband, Erik, are the people who run Kitten BNB. They are huge animal lovers who have a particularly soft spot for kittens that require a forever home. Jess and Erik have been fostering kittens for some time now by taking care of them while looking for a permanent home. Their Airbnb has been hosting kittens longer than they have been entertaining people!
Kitten BNB can boast that it is the first Airbnb account that is dedicated to saving kittens. Jess and Erik realized that they could find even more homes for more kittens by opening up their home to human guests as well as furry ones. And we are so, so glad that they did.
Jess and Erik, who were working with a local animal shelter as foster parents, were trying to get as many of their foster kittens adopted as possible. They started an Instagram account to showcase the kittens that were in their care, and people responded by saying they wanted to take.
Jess and Erik also advocate for people to become foster parents for kittens and other animals. They think that getting started is the hardest step, and seeing the fur babies get the forever home that they deserve is incredibly rewarding.
You Can Stay In A Room That Is Part Of The Couple’s Home
Kitten BNB is not a private home where you rent the entire place. Guests stay in a room that is part of Jess and Erik’s condo. The room is private, so there is a guarantee that people won’t be coming in while you are there. It also has a private bathroom that no one else uses.
This means that guests get to be part of a full family experience – a family that includes lots of kittens! The hosts can provide a warm, personal experience, and the kittens, well, there are just no words for the joys that kittens bring.
Hoboken is a town in New Jersey that is very small, pedestrian-friendly, and full of great dining options. It is also just on the other side of Manhattan, so guests have a comprehensive view of the New York City skyline from the private deck that is part of their room.
At less than $100 per night (as of December 2019), Kitten BNB is way cheaper than a hotel in the New York City area. And just to reiterate, it has kittens! What could be better than staying right next to New York City while being surrounded by kittens?
Yes, as part of your stay, you get to play with the kittens. But isn’t that the whole point of staying there? So you can spend a full, fast-paced day in Manhattan, blitzing through Times Square, going up to the top of the Empire State Building, viewing the Statue of Liberty, or going to meetings for work.
And then you come home and get to play with a bunch of kittens! You can even take pictures of the kittens or ask the hosts to take photos of you playing with the kittens. After all, if you are going to stay in a place called Kitten BNB, you have to take pictures to show your friends.
All of the kittens who are at Kitten BNB are foster kittens that the hosts are trying to find permanent homes for. They began Kitten BNB as a way to connect more people to the kittens in their care, so plenty of guests leave with a new kitten to take home.
But guests are under no obligation to adopt any of the kittens. They can come to play with the kittens, who are full of energy and need lots of attention! Guests get a profoundly rewarding experience knowing that they are cuddling up to foster kittens in need of adoption. And the kittens provide lots of love in return.
But is Kitten BNB actually a quality place to stay? What are the hosts like? What about the other parts of the experience, like having a nice room to stay in? The reviews on Kitten BNB speak for themselves. Every guest who stays there gets to write a review, and Kitten BNB has an average rating of 4.98 out of 5.
One reviewer wrote, “We wholeheartedly recommend staying at Jessica and Erik’s place. The apartment is big and clean. The rooms have comfortable beds with big TVs. Hoboken is a really nice place with lots of places to eat. It is easy to get to Manhattan with the train, and nothing beats playing with kittens after a long day in the city.”
The room that guests get to stay in is better than most hotel rooms. It has a 55-inch television that is equipped with Roku and Netflix, so you can unwind after a long day by binging and – wait for it – playing with kittens!
The house is also equipped with Fios internet, which is super high speed. The queen-size bed is large enough to sleep two people comfortably, plus the room has a private bathroom and a private deck. It really is a five-star accommodation. But – wait for it again – most five-star accommodations don’t have kittens!
The Kitten BNB page says, “It’s really easy to get around. At just 1.25 square miles, Hoboken is a very cute and walkable city. Our place is a 5-10 min walk to the NYC-bound bus 126 and 15-20 mins to the PATH station (5 mins by cab).”
The PATH station is for trains going in and out of New York City. Even with rush-hour traffic, you can be in Manhattan in less than an hour by taking either the bus or the train. Some people who stay at Kitten BNB are traveling to visit New York City, while others are there for work. And everyone – everyone – stays at Kitten BNB because of the kittens.
Jess and Erik are serious about the kittens who are in their care. Kitten BNB was a bed and breakfast for kittens long before it became a bed and breakfast for humans on Airbnb. Airbnb guests are treated with the utmost dignity, but the real guests are the kittens.
The website says, “Sorry, the kittens don’t sleep in your room. At night, the kittens stay in their own private sleeping area near our bedroom. This area is for their safety (and so you can sleep peacefully since they can be even crazier at night).” That’s right; the kittens have their own lounge.
Who would want to leave such a perfect place? Jess and Erik are five-star hosts who have some of the best reviews of all the millions of homes on Airbnb. You get a private bedroom and bathroom with a view of New York City, which is just a short ride away.
And best of all, you get kittens! As much time as you can possibly spend with them! You can play with them, cuddle with them, take pictures of them, anything that does not compromise their safety. This spot has got to be one of the perfect destinations in the entire world.
But When You Do Leave, You Can Take A Kitten With You
If you absolutely must leave Kitten BNB – you know, if you have to go back to work or some other obligation that pulls you away – you don’t have to leave the kittens. You can take one with you! Remember that all of the kittens are foster kittens, and Jess and Erik started Kitten BNB to find homes for them.
If you meet a kitten there that you are particularly drawn to, you can adopt one and take it home with you. Jess and Erik will be able to bring back another foster kitten for their Airbnb guests to play with.