An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Flexibility-Be ready to modify your home for Airbnb. Remove items that are too “personal” like family photos. Lock away anything that you would be devastated to lose. (family heirlooms) When doing any renovations or repairs, keep in mind what will be easiest to clean and most durable.
Many people dream of becoming an Airbnb host but don’t know where to start. In this series called “5 Things You Need To Become A Highly Successful Airbnb Host” we are interviewing successful Airbnb hosts who share lessons from their experience about how to run a very successful Airbnb property. As part of this series I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Weedon Palazzo.
Jennifer Weedon Palazzo is a video creator, editor, producer, and Mama-in-Charge at www.MomCaveTV.com, an online community of 80,000 moms and counting. Along with her husband, they have been Airbnb Superhosts for the past 5 years.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to first start becoming an Airbnb host?
My husband and I had been “landlords” before in the traditional sense, renting an apartment in Manhattan and multi-family homes in Massachusetts. When we decided to move from NYC to The Berkshires and buy a home, we knew that renting out the home we bought would help us afford it. The area our house is located in is a bit of a “resort” area, especially during summer and ski season. We travel often and had family in the area we could stay with for occasional rentals.
My husband is the bandleader of a touring jazz band. Once the pandemic hit, all of their gigs were cancelled for over a year. To replace his income, we started renting our personal home out as much as possible. Sometimes we’d travel in our RV, sometimes stay in town with family or at a motel.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this?
I’ve learned to actually get pleasure out of cleaning! I can’t believe it. I’ve always been a bit disorganized and HATED the tedium of cleaning. But now, it’s a challenge to see how fast I can do it and how thorough I can be.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I once rented to a group of professional guys in their twenties. They said they were on a work retreat. I had forgotten to sign out of my Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts on the house’s televisions. So when they started watching a movie, a notification popped up on my phone. At 2am, they started “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” followed by “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and then “The Boys in the Band.”
When they checked out, I found glitter everywhere, long neon pink hairs (like from a wig), a sequined evening gown and a large bag of toiletries.
I called them to tell them that they had left their toiletries (which included some upscale beauty products I’m too frugal to buy) and they told me to keep them. This group was definitely “Fabulous!”
But don’t forget to sign out of your streaming accounts.
What are some of the common mistakes you have seen people make when they first start hosting with Airbnb?
The number one mistake is not cleaning thoroughly enough. High-end renters expect a spotless house. If you hired someone else to do the cleaning, you are still going to have to go behind them and do at least 2 more hours of cleaning. Trust me. Not a hair on a pillow or a fingerprint on a lightswitch.
What are some of the things that can be done to avoid these errors?
Look at your house with fresh eyes. If you were paying top dollar to stay here, what would stick out to you? When it’s a house we live in, we start to overlook the little things that are out of place, need replacing, etc.
Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the Airbnb experience? In your opinion, what makes you different from the rest?
I provide personalized recommendations of things to do in the area and restaurants to try. I’m extremely responsive. When I have a rental, my phone is always next to me. But most importantly, you literally could eat off the floors.
Wonderful. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share “5 Things You Need To Become A Highly Successful Airbnb Host”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Responsiveness-Airbnb rates properties based on how long it takes you to respond to messages. And renters expect to be able to get in touch with you at all times, day or night.
- A thick skin-Some renters are difficult. You do everything you can to make them happy but sometimes things are out of control. Never lose your cool. Always behave like a “host” and don’t let it bother you too much.
- Great Eyesight-People will be grossed out if they find a tiny piece of hair in the shower drain or on a pillow case. People will complain if they find a single ant crawling on the kitchen floor. Inspect everything more than once.
- Organizational Skills-If you are renting on more than one site, keep them synced up at all times. Never over book. If you accept a booking for a date in advance and then someone tries to book that some date on the OTHER site, you will have to reject it, which will hurt your host ratings and you properties’ rank in the search listings.
- Flexibility-Be ready to modify your home for Airbnb. Remove items that are too “personal” like family photos. Lock away anything that you would be devastated to lose. (family heirlooms) When doing any renovations or repairs, keep in mind what will be easiest to clean and most durable.
You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?
I’m a huge fan of cruises. I love having a vacation be about lounging by the pool or ocean by day and then getting “dressed” for dinner and trying lots of new restaurants. And cruises tend to have free childcare that the kids beg to go to.
Can you share with our readers how you’ve used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Raising two good humans is the best thing I can do for the world.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Hmm… that’s a tough one. I wish there was a way to take all of the food we waste here in America and effectively get it to places where people need it.
How can our readers further follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Jennifer Weedon Palazzo: 5 Things You Need To Become A Highly Successful Airbnb Host was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.