For our 9th wedding anniversary, Victor and I decided to attend Airbnb Open in Los Angeles from November 17-19. Romantic, right? Well…it was my idea to go to a conference to celebrate our anniversary. We were still Airbnb host newbies at that point and had been hosting just for just 4 months. Initially our goal was to learn how to get more bookings and what we got from the experience far exceeded our expectations. We discovered a community passionate about hospitality and every aspect of the event showed a lot of thought and care was put into crafting a delightful experience.
We stayed in an Airbnb condo in Koreatown and only used the Metro, Uber or Lyft to travel around L.A. We surely got our steps in and I only packed 2 pairs of comfy shoes! I really had to be creative with outfit combinations that would go with black wedges or tan ankle boots. For breakfast we dined at Klat Cafe and enjoyed some scrumptious waffles and omelets. My mouth is totally watering right now.
We hopped back on the Metro and stopped in Downtown L.A. We knew we arrived when we saw the huge sign with Airbnb Open’s logo. We checked in and received some sturdy, eye-popping goodie bags filled with a Swell-shaped water bottle, notebook, pen, Sharpie marker (yes!), and marketing collateral from sponsors.
I certainly felt like I was at a concert with these light-up wristbands. You bump wrists with other hosts to exchange contact info. Each day Airbnb and the L.A. Downtowner would publish a new guide with event details.
We relaxed in the Oasis which was a space that Airbnb transformed from a parking lot into a open common area filled with palm trees, patio umbrellas, and seating. This made us feel relaxed and I noticed it also invited fellow hosts to strike up conversations with one another too.
Coming from Atlanta, Georgia where the weather was cold, I took a moment to breathe in the beautiful warm weather and I looked up and noticed motivational quotes on the shade covers.
This is your invitation to create something new. Something nobody else has ever made. Your masterpiece, the life you lead. So go ahead and be skeptical, be amazed, be changed, be anything.
The event hadn’t even started yet and already I was in a different state of mind. I was ready to keep my mind open and suddenly realized this wasn’t a typical conference. I felt like Airbnb was giving me a virtual hug.
Airbnb sure took care of its hosts. There were multiple stations in the Oasis filled with fresh, healthy snacks and thirst-quenching drinks like coconut water.
Chip Conley, Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy for Airbnb, took the stage to kick off orientation. He welcomed all the hosts and expressed gratitude that we open our hearts and homes to our guests.
Later we mingled and bounced around different stations. I found a collection of books for additional reading and inspiration. See the end of my post for the full list.
We got tired in the late afternoon and laid down on some turf when an Airbnb employee came over and invited us to take a 15-minute nap in the bed at Casper’s booth. They even gave us free pillow cases. So, we went over to recharge our bodies and our phones.
Check out this huge ass phone charger.
We oriented ourselves on Day 1 and had a better idea of where everything was, what to do, where to go and we mapped out our schedule for sessions and workshops. It was time to head back to the condo to rest up before dinner. Our last stop of Day 1 was one of Sonja’s recommendation: Grand Central Market. As you can see, my 6-year-old son, Andrew, was exhausted so we turned in for the night after our bellies were full.
Stay tuned for the rest of our trip…