WEL­COM­ING AIR

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DANNI SHAFIK danielle. shafik@ news. com. au

AIRBNB is prov­ing pop­u­lar for hosts and tourists in Townsville as the city em­braces the plat­form that has been a suc­cess all over the world.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is an on­line ser­vice which en­ables peo­ple to lease or rent short- term ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Natasha Cough­lan from Kir­wan has been a host for 10 months af­ter first us­ing the site and find­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for her fam­ily when hol­i­day­ing in Ja­pan last year.

With a fam­ily of five to ac­com­mo­date, Natasha said it was eas­ier and much cheaper to find ac­com­mo­da­tion on Airbnb than book­ing two in­ter­con­nected rooms at a ho­tel.

Natasha of­fers a four- bed­room fully fur­nished house in Kir­wan on the site and is de­lighted with the re­sponse.

“We learnt the rules and reg­u­la­tions sur­round­ing Airbnb and it has worked out re­ally well for us.

“We re­ceive a higher in­come than rent­ing it per­ma­nently,” she said.

“As long as your Airbnb is pro­fes­sional and you go above and be­yond you will al­ways have guests.”

Be­ing a host has brought in about $ 6000 this year for Natasha who be­lieves her suc­cess is due to the mar­ket need in the area.

“There is such a call for fur­nished short and long term res­i­dences in Townsville — peo­ple just driv­ing through need a night here and there, or lots of busi­ness peo­ple send crews up for a range of dif­fer­ent things.”

Emily West­pha is also an Airbnb host, with a pri­vate room at her house in West End avail­able for sin­gles or cou­ples.

Ms West­pha said she had met some re­ally in­ter­est­ing peo­ple and made some great friends through her vis­i­tors, while giv­ing her in­come a boost.

“You have to en­joy meet­ing new peo­ple and also trust in the ba­sic good­ness of peo­ple,” she said.

Di­rec­tor of Tourism and Events at Townsville En­ter­prise Brid­get Woods said Airbnb was a ser­vice in de­mand by con­sumers and by trav­ellers.

“The op­tion needs to be avail­able for vis­i­tors into our city,” she said.

“Many ho­tels in our re­gion are also us­ing the plat­form to pro­mote their of­fer­ing.”

A Townsville search on Airbnb comes up with 80 list­ings rang­ing from $ 56 a night for a pri­vate room to $ 433 a night for a four- bed­room villa.

The site is def­i­nitely in use, as a search for one night’s ac­com­mo­da­tion tonight finds only 22 of the list­ings avail­able.

Reg­is­tra­tion and ac­count cre­ation on Airbnb is free with pric­ing de­ter­mined by the host, along with de­scrip­tions of the prop­erty, avail­abil­ity and any re­quire­ments or ex­pec­ta­tions of vis­i­tors.

Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

HAPPY HOST: Natasha Cough­lan is hav­ing great suc­cess on Airbnb.

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