Originally hailing from Kelowna, B.C., but having lived in New York for several years, Carmen returned to B.C. – this time, Vancouver – to embark on her next journey: business school. Currently a full-time MBA student at University of British Columbia (UBC), she plans to pursue either business development or internal consulting upon graduating.
An avid traveler, Carmen first became familiar with Airbnb as a guest four years ago. After having several positive experiences with hosts, the idea of becoming a host herself became appealing when she settled in Vancouver for school. “I haven’t had the opportunity to travel recently because of my school schedule,” she says. “Hosting brings the world to my doorstep.”
Carmen shares her two bedroom Fairview Slopes apartment with her sister. As a full-time student and a non-profit employee, respectively, trying to make ends meet in an increasingly expensive city has become a little easier with the extra income they make through home sharing. “It’s a more sustainable way to afford to live in my community. I’m leveraging the resources I already have instead of asking a bank for a loan and getting into debt.”
Located close to Vancouver General Hospital, Carmen and her sister often host physician residents who can’t afford local hotel prices. In addition to offering a more cost-effective stay for the residents, the sisters offer a relaxing place to come home to after a stressful day at work. “We hosted a vascular surgeon who had a rough day and wanted to come home and talk to us about it. Having a home and someone to talk to has made a huge difference in their experience visiting Vancouver.”
Carmen always points her guests to businesses in her neighbourhood to encourage them to shop locally. “We’ve got this great market near our house, Sunshine Market, that’s open ‘til midnight. And then there’s Max’s Deli. It reminds me so much of New York. They’ve got the best desserts!”
It’s clear that Carmen and her sister have a knack for hospitality and enjoy being hosts beyond just the extra income. “There are people who love to host and enjoy hospitality and Airbnb is perfect for that,” she says. “The value add of Airbnb has much more to do with the unique experience it offers, not just the roof over your head.”