On board with Veronica Kypros, Host at Airbnb!

Welcome to the world of Airbnb, an online marketplace which lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests. Many of our guests choose to stay in Airbnb accommodation whilst in Melbourne, as it provides them with an alternative to regular Hotels. There’s plenty of criteria to list for/search a property: from a shared room to an entire house, to having a swimming pool to having a washing machine. There are photos of the property, and the hosts/guests, with full map listing.

Ever wondered what it’s like to be an Airbnb host? We caught up with Veronica Kypros to find out about what attracted her to Airbnb, as well as some tips for those who are new to the venture.

Tell us a little about yourself (background, other roles etc).
My family background is German.  I’m a single professional with 3 grown-up children who no longer live at home. I have a lovely home in Williamstown, and have lived in the area nearly all my life.  I travel often, both locally and internationally, and consider myself a digital nomad – working from anywhere.  Over the years I have also developed a number of businesses in diverse industries, including construction, retail, business consulting, and not-for-profits.  I am now an insurance broker with my own business, specialising in short stay insurance.

How long have you been an Airbnb host? 

I have been an Airbnb host since 2014.  I started off hosting in my own home, and then acquired a number of inner-city Melbourne apartments that I let on the short stay market.

What attracted you to being an Airbnb Host?
My large townhouse is well suited to hosting – the ground floor has a bedroom, ensuite bathroom, kitchenette & lounge, and is an ideal guest suite.  My living spaces are all upstairs.  It’s the ideal set-up for hosting visitors, whether they are friends, family or short stay guests.  When the last of my children left home, I really felt the need to do something to fill the void. The kids and I visited New York in early 2014 and it was my first experience of staying in an Airbnb.  I was immediately hooked because I loved the concept, I like people, and I love developing businesses.

What to you is the most important thing that makes you an excellent host? 
Having bullet-proof processes in place is essential.  You need to systematise everything as much as possible (ie cleaning, check-in, communications) while maintaining hospitality standards and making sure you include personal touches so that guests don’t feel like they are just a booking number.  For those wanting to get into short stay management, I always advise that starting off hosting in your own home is an excellent apprenticeship.  Diving straight in to managing multiple properties with no prior experience is dangerous for hosts and can lead to disappointed guests.

What`s the most memorable experience you have had engaging with a guest or guests?
Too many to mention.  My first Egyptian family were charming! They invited me to their Eid celebrations, and all of the children left me beautiful notes of appreciation.  They showed me that in the middle east, they take hospitality and good manners to a whole other level.  Then there were the Chinese family who invited me to join them for a home-cooked fish dinner and gave me a bucket of crabs!  Not to mention the 2 young German guys who almost became part of the family, joining us for our German Christmas Eve family dinner.  It’s really hard to choose, but suffice to say that I am loving the cultural explorations and have learnt a lot about mankind.

What`s your favourite part of being an Airbnb Host?
Creating a memorable experience for guests visiting Melbourne, whether that’s in my own home or in one of my apartments.  I would never have believed that it would be possible to give people a 5 star experience even if we never meet, but my reviews say otherwise.  Hospitality can clearly even be extended from a distance.

What is your favourite thing about Melbourne?
My home town of Williamstown is the best thing about Melbourne from a location point of view.  It is 15 minutes from the CBD, close to the sea! Williamstown has a history going right back to the colonisation of Victoria which is evidenced in its charming architecture, and has a village atmosphere.  15 minutes on the train will get you right to the heart of Melbourne where you will be spoilt for choice with amazing restaurants, great coffee, loads of markets, shopping galore and world-class entertainment & sports events.  The city is laid out on a grid and flat & easy to get around by car, foot or bicycle.  Despite the big city credentials, Melbourne has a humanity about it that makes it palpably friendly.  Although it’s notorious for its changeable weather, we Melburnians embrace the diversity and don’t mind layering up to be prepared for anything.  A clear Autumn day in Melbourne is a sight to behold.

Thinking about giving Airbnb a shot yourself? Head to www.airbnb.com.au to find out more!