“When I host Airbnb guests, I am essentially hosting friends and family”, Isabelle says with a candid smile. “I give them everything that I would give to friends.”
Isabelle is an Airbnb host in Lyon and this is her definition of hospitality. Isabelle has been hosting for three years and it was the company’s non-discrimination policy that encouraged her to sign up. In her cozy apartment she explains that “even before using Airbnb, I felt that I had the same values of sharing and inclusion. It’s something that attracted me straight away. I’d been an Airbnb guest and decided that I should share my home too.”
She has excellent memories of her first guest, a young Colombian man who wanted to move to Lyon. “He spent a month at mine and afterwards didn’t want to leave”, she smiles. “After that we became quite close.” Once he had left, they bumped into each other on several occasions in the streets of Lyon, at the bakery or the butcher’s.
“I always look forward to opening the door and talking to people from all over the world.”
Her fondest memory is of when she hosted a Syrian refugee couple. He was a doctor and she was a maths teacher. She remembers that “they made breakfast for me with Syrian specialities on several occasions. It was excellent.” So, she returned the favour and started preparing snacks made only from specialities from Lyon. “It was a beautiful shared moment. I learnt a lot about Syrian culture, it was fascinating.”
Isabelle is also an Airbnb host for financial reasons. She describes herself as “shy” and has used Airbnb as a means of supplementing her income. “I’ve had some financial problems recently. Those closest to me were advising me to sell my apartment… But that was really the last thing I wanted.”
By using the platform, Isabelle has been able to put a little money aside in addition to her primary source of income. “In the space of a few months of hosting, my financial situation rapidly improved and I’ve been able to keep my apartment. Without Airbnb, I don’t think I would be where I am now.” Not to mention the guests she has met.
“I think that, if I stopped hosting, I would feel a big loss.”