Portland’s first-ever independent home sharing conference is a smash hit

On Saturday, April 22nd, over 200 Portland hosts successfully gathered for Host2Host, a first-ever full-day home sharing conference organized and executed independently by hosts. The conference brought together hosts from around the northwest, including as far away as Canada, to support connection, education, and advancement for home sharing.

The passion within the Portland home sharing community was immediately apparent, as strangers became friends and gathered to learn from each other. The grassroots nature of the workshops allowed all members to be included in roundtable discussions, to not only learn more about hosting from the panel leaders, but to share with each other their own experiences. “I signed up because I wanted to connect with other hosts,” commented Portland host Jane Latimer. “I also enjoyed hearing people’s experiences and tips on what works for them.”

Workshops covered all aspects of home sharing from cleaning, photography and decorating tips, to Instant Book and insurance. Hosts also met one-on-one to share their personal hosting experiences and tips. Hosts shared learnings about creating uniquely Portland experiences while supporting the local economy, and how sharing their home fosters growth and strengthens the community.

“The sharing and connecting was happening on many levels. It just made me really grateful and proud to be part of this community.”

Debi Hertert receives flowers at the Happy Hour for her dedication to the hosting community.

Debi Hertert, the leader of the independent group of Portland hosts, has always been a champion of home sharing. She began hosting in 2010 and was an early adopter of the Airbnb platform. With the conference, she turned what was once a dream into reality. “The appreciation of the attendees and the joy that they have for home sharing was infectious,” she remarks. “The sharing and connecting was happening on many levels. It just made me really grateful and proud to be part of this community.”

Debi also hosts a monthly podcast Hosting Your Home, which features compelling stories from Airbnb hosts and guests.

Marshall Runkel, Chief of Staff for Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, speaks on a public policy panel.

The host-led conference proved to be the perfect venue for city leaders, small business owners and influencers from the travel industry to engage in proactive conversations with the hosts about the future of home sharing in Portland. Guest speakers included leaders from Travel Portland and Venture Portland (Portland’s Small Business Coalition) as well as professionals from various fields related to home sharing. Cyn Wang, an Airbnb public policy manager, spoke on a panel with Marshall Runkel, Chief of Staff for Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s office. The two discussed the City of Portland’s evolving relationship with the host community and enforcement of short-term rental regulations, as well as ways Airbnb has partnered with other cities to register hosts.

Emery Lieberman, Airbnb’s host mobilization program manager, during her keynote: “The Power of Community, Host Connections From Around the World”

All in all, the conference was a smashing success. Hosts left the conference feeling energized, and, notes Debi, with an “appreciation for one another on a much deeper level.”