Alternate title: How to be a great Airbnb host
Alternate title 2: 7 reasons Airbnb crushed it during my WWDC stay
Last month I had the opportunity to attend WWDC for my third time. On the news front, this year was significant for many reasons, like the continued evolution of Swift, the focus on integration, and the updated developer and accessibility tools. Beyond the conference though, my stay in the San Francisco was one to remember.
I didn't book my hotel far enough in advance, so prices for a ~4 star hotel had jumped from the $250-350 range to $400-600 per night. So I turned to Airbnb. There were some holes in the wall, some extremely high-end places, and a handful of in betweens. I lucked out and found a place about a ten minute walk from Moscone. It was a loft apartment in SOMA with lots of little amenities that looked good on the website, but you never know what you're getting yourself into until you're there in person.
The daily rate for the place was discounted down to $300/night due to the length of stay (and a gracious host). After taxes and fees it came out to about $360/night, rivaling tons of hotels in the city during a busy week. But there's something about having a loft apartment to yourself as compared to holding up in a hotel room. Here's were my seven favorite parts.
1. Chargers Everywhere
Bathroom, kitchen, bed, other side of bed, coming out of the couch. It was amazing. And not just one type of charger. All types. And long cables, too.
2. Bluetooth speakers
This actually might've been my favorite part. In each the living room, bathroom, and loft bedroom there was a separate set of bluetooth speakers to connect to. I beamed my music around the different areas during the day and serenaded myself to sleep every night. I've since applied this setup at home. Having speakers available is pretty standard, so I think the magic in it was the ease of Bluetooth and realizing that all I had to do was open Command Center on my phone or iPad and select the audio target. It was just smooth and unexpected.
My host had printed labels pretty much exactly where I needed them. Each time I found myself thinking "I wonder how you turn on the TV..." or "what's that for?" there was a label right where you would expect telling me which remote to use, that I was free to help myself to any food in the house, etc.
Speaking of food, she texted me ahead of time and asked me my snack and beverage preference. How many times has a hotel done that? A big fat zero. Actually, they do the opposite and charge 2-4x convenience store prices for stuff you only consider eating because it's midnight and you have no other options.
5. A Workspace
I lucked out. My host was also a Mac person, which as an iOS developer attending an Apple developer conference turned out to be a pretty good thing. An Apple Keyboard, Trackpad, and Thunderbolt Display recreated my home office setup almost exactly. It didn't feel like a place where I could get by working for a week. It felt like normal. This wouldn't have been ideal for someone on a different platform, but it worked great for me.
This is an easy one, but sometimes missed by both Airbnb hosts and your mother-in-law over holiday break. People have different climate preferences and an available fan gives you options. AC/heat is important too, no doubt, but sometimes that fan is the final piece that lets you sleep like a baby. At least for me.
7. Smart Access
An August smart lock, keyless entry to the building, and a backup set of keys gave me options for coming and going. I ended up memorizing my code (which was setup to be a variation on one of my own pieces of information, which made it easy to remember) and going keyless all week. It was nice to not have to worry about losing my keys or about stashing key(s) in a tiny pocket when going for a run. Very modern. Very 2016. The preloaded Clipper cards (local transit pass) was a nice touch, too.
The combination of these amenities, and the fact that I know I would've gotten half of them (if that), while paying more at a nearby hotel, made my Airbnb week awesome.
I know several people that did not have a good Airbnb experience both at WWDC and other conferences. For Airbnb amateurs (like myself), keep in mind that a lot of Airbnb listings are subpar. Make sure to research the neighborhood and contact the host beforehand. Message them a bit and get a feel for their listing and their level of communication. Some Airbnb spaces should be avoided outright.