Home away from home: Airbnbs are popping up locally

August 2016 Posted in Business
Silverton resident Ken Mulder recently opened his house as an Airbnb.

Silverton resident Ken Mulder recently opened his house as an Airbnb.

By Melissa Wagoner

Silverton resident Ken Mulder was facing a long summer in a big empty house when he decided to check into the online vacation rental service Airbnb.

“It was very simple to sign up and list the house,” he said. “Once it was listed, I can do almost everything from my phone.”

Airbnb, established in 2008 in San Francisco, Calif., is an online service listing accommodations in more than 34,000 cities around the world.

Mulder’s house is one of 16 Airbnb rentals in and around Silverton. The rentals are diverse in their locations and attributes. An Airstream camp trailer, both rustic and upscale cabins, Victorian homes, and even rooms within homes in average neighborhoods are listed side by side.

The benefit of the site online is that hosts choose the days and prices that work best for them, while travelers are able to find lodging that fits their needs.

Airbnb
To learn more about Airbnb
or to see what is available, visit
www.airbnb.com

In order to make the ideal traveler and host match the site is set up with not only a description of the rental space but of the hosts and a list of reviews written by previous guests, along with a description of the potential renters and a list of renter reviews written by previous hosts.

Mulder’s rental, which he calls Cambridge Guest House, is one of the largest listed in this area, housing up to 10 people and is rated five out of five stars with many reviews mentioning the spacious accommodations and helpful host.

“I have five beds in five bedrooms. Families or groups of friends can share the space and all be under one roof with the option to use the kitchen instead of eating out,” he said. “I think my guest like they fact that they can be under one roof and have the entire house to themselves, including the fire pit and BBQ in the backyard.”

Mulder listed his house with Airbnb in early June and has had no shortage of renters.

“It has exceeded my expectations. I have very few open nights during July and August and every weekend is booked through September,” he said.

Although allowing strangers access to personal space isn’t for everyone, Mulder said that he has had only positive experiences so far and that all of his guests have been clean and courteous.

Sarah Weitzman, a close neighbor to Mulder, was surprised to hear that he was renting the house.

“I don’t care that he’s doing an Airbnb,” she said. “But one of his guests knocked on our door at 11 p.m. trying to find it.”

Overall she does not see the influx of visitors as a problem.

“Ken’s a pretty smart reliable guy, if it was someone renting that wasn’t around much I’d probably feel different,” she said.

Mulder is a very hands-on renter. He and his son occupy the house during the times when it is not rented, making it different than other vacation rentals.

He chooses available dates according to when his son will be away for camps and summer activities and when he can stay with friends. The Airbnb site allows him this flexibility.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “It was a bit difficult at first. The biggest challenge is getting it ready for the next guests in a four-hour period.”

The guests Mulder has housed have been from a wide range of states and countries and in the area for different reasons including; family reunions, layovers during long trips and many trips to Silver Falls State Park.

Mulder sees Silverton as an attractive place for tourists who want something close to the freeway but with its own special activities.

“Most guests have an idea of what the area offers,” he said. “I’m happy to help and suggest activities when asked.”

Tips for travelers

According to the Airbnb website, some safety tips:

Read carefully
Make sure to read the profile and reviews of the host before you book. Check for a verified phone number and address. Read everything about the place so there are no surprises. Understand cancellation policy before submitting a reservation.

Pay and communicate on Airbnb
Paying or communicating outside Airbnb makes it harder for us to protect your information and puts you at greater risk of fraud and security issues.

Set clear expectations
After learning more about your host’s Airbnb history, start a conversation with them about your plans and what you can expect. Trust your intuition: if you don’t feel right about a reservation, don’t book it. If a message makes you feel uncomfortable or you need help during your reservation, let us know.

Prepare for the unexpected
Research the neighborhood where you’ll be staying and have a plan for where you’d go in an emergency. If you’re covering long distances in your travels, make sure to tell your friends and family where you’ll be.

Be a considerate guest
Whether you’re still looking for the perfect listing or are already on your way, being a considerate guest matters. Treat the home as you would treat your own home, with a little respect.

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