So what the heck is Airbnb?Airbnb logo Inman News recently did an in depth piece on the unique company and the tremendous growth they are experiencing in the real estate space which you can read here. I have also added a video from Airbnb below explaining their model and how it is uniquely driven by people not properties.

After having used their services personally, my story is below in audio format, and having researched Airbnb in depth as their founder is speaking at Connect this year, their business model really got my mind racing.

I am sure that many of you have come in contact and will continue to come in contact with a lot of people in your local market that are in a comparable position to one or more of the following:

1. They simply can not sell their home because of they are too far upside down financially

2. They tried to sell their home and there was zero interest

3. They tried to sell their home and could not get what they needed to for the property

4. They have considered renting their property out for additional cash flow, but do not want to be a property manager

5. They own a 2nd home or rental property that is empty

6. They only want to sell their home because could really use additional cash flow due to the challenging economy

It is hard to say exactly what percentage of the human race that list encompasses, but I would guess it is a lot. Especially considering number 6.

This is the segment of your database/sphere/social graph where I could see you suggesting they take a look at Airbnb as an option.

Airbnb has a feature in place where people can list space within their home for rent. Instead of renting out your entire property (which is also an option) you can rent out an area of the home or even just one room. Prospective travelers can then select options that include daily, weekly and monthly pricing. There is a heavy focus on transparency and reviews on their site. After having gone through the process myself, I can assure you it could not have been easier.

Airbnb hosts

So can you think of anyone right now that would be open to basically becoming a bread and breakfast in exchange for some additional income? I can!

Another attractive perk at Airbnb is that you as the referrer of the person who uses them to list their property receive $75 when they eventually find a “tenant”. I certainly wouldn’t count that into my yearly revenue projections but if you are able to really provide a value to your client that was in need financially while also putting a week’s worth of Starbuck’s money away why not. I can only imagine the loyalty, referral source and raving fan you would create when the shoe fits!

Airbnb referrals

My favorite feature of Airbnb actually came via their Inman Innovator Award nominated iPhone app. There is an estimator tool built into the app that quickly will give you an idea of what your specific property could rent for on a daily or monthly basis. I have to admit that when I saw the number on the screen when inputting my property info in Brooklyn I almost had the kids move into our room and listed their bedroom!


Airbnb iPhone appairbnbplace worth

It is always great to see true innovation like this surface and have success on a global scale. I really look at Airbnb as a way for you guys to in a sense ‘pay it forward’ by introducing it to people that could really benefit from what they offer even though it means that they are not currently listing with you.

Call me crazy. I think giving is the new taking. Would love your thoughts on this somewhat selfless strategy below! Check out my podcast.

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