AirbnBae: The Power of Surprise Hospitality

Airbnb has taught me more about great hospitality than any other experience. 

Recently in Brooklyn, my partner and I scored a great four night spot for just $30 total. Our hosts met us with two smiles and a helpful neighborhood guide they'd handily prepared. Not only did we immediately know where to get the best nachos within 15 blocks, but we felt like we were staying with long-time friends. A little something extra gave a first impression.

Whenever I travel, I now exclusively look for exciting Airbnb rooms with something unique to offer. Close to the train station and free wi-fi? Great, but it's 2015 - wifi is mandatory. A curated wall of Quentin Tarantino paintings, complimentary slippers AND a killer empanada stand down the block? Sign me up. 

One of my favorites is when a host adds convenient amenities that hotels often miss. Scented candles after a day's travel are the absolute BEST. Getting to know the host's pets during some morning downtime?  After all, who DOESN'T want to relax  with a cute furry friend on vacation? All the extra pillows and sample-sized conditioner in the world couldn't top that.

Sure, many are skeptical (My parents couldn't be more loyal to Ramada). Many cities (like Richmond) don't legally allow them. Some guests have had nothing but horror stories to show for themselves. But the risk is worth the reward if you're open to surprises - the good with the bad.

I'll be real - I know hotels aren't going anywhere. They're almost always reliable, and that means a lot in hospitality. But as a the millennial traveler craving something more, I need a little unpredictability. That extra touch makes all the difference. 

Surprise me, and a loyal brand ambassador is born.

Tommy McPhail