01/24/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2023 15:48
Goedendag Anton, nice to meet you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Anton and I live in Zierikzee, a small town in the South West of the Netherlands. I have a normal day-to-day job in a supply chain, and I am a father to a son who is 7 years old.
When did you become a Host?
I started hosting on Airbnb just before the pandemic. I was going through a divorce at that time, and suddenly I was alone in a big house with a spare room standing empty. So I figured that I could rent it out on Airbnb. It felt really nice to have guests with me in the house that I could interact with, and who I could also show around the beautiful area that I live in.
It sounds like hosting has helped you overcome a challenging time.
This was actually a really tough time for me. I was going through a costly divorce, and despite having a full-time job, I even had to use food banks just so that I could pay all my bills. But through hosting on Airbnb, I could create some financial breathing room, and I was able to not be reliant on that kind of help anymore. So at the end of the day, hosting has helped me regain control over my life and to come out the other end of the tunnel a lot stronger, also mentally.
What do you like most about hosting?
I only Host on days when my son is not staying with me, so that when he does stay with me, I can fully focus on him. But on the other days, it is really nice to have company in the house.
I really enjoy talking to my guests and getting to know them, having nice conversations. I usually ask them what their goal for their stay is. Sometimes they want to go sightseeing or to a museum, and I am happy to give them advice or offer them a small tour of the town and tell them about its history. I think that the area where I live is beautiful and unique, it has a rich history and there is a lot to see.
How has hosting impacted your life?
When I was going through my divorce, I noticed that hosting had a really positive impact on my mental health. I've also made some really good friends through Airbnb. For example, I still touch base with my very first guest every couple of months, and we've even gone out together a few times. So I would say that hosting has really opened up my world. 99% of the people that I've hosted have been really great.
And what is the financial impact?
I cannot overstate how important the financial benefit of hosting is for me. With the increase in the price of fuel, travelling frequently to pick up and drop off my son who now lives 130 km away has become very costly. Between this and the cost of child support, there would not be much of my salary left at the end of each month if I didn't host.
The money I earn through hosting also allows me to afford to do activities with my son, like taking him to a museum or to a playground where you have to pay an entrance fee. I also like to reinvest the money I earn back into the room I rent out, so that it is nicer for the guests.
What kind of guests do you have?
I prefer to offer my room at the cheaper end of Airbnb listings, because I want people who are in a tough financial situation to be able to have a nice holiday too. So I've had guests with very limited finances, but I've also had guests who were very well off.
People come here to go windsurfing, kitesurfing or scuba diving, and there are a lot of cyclists who spend the night when cycling from Germany through the Netherlands and into France. Also people that work or have a temporary job in the neighborhood and spend a few nights here during the week, so that they don't have to drive back and forth each day. Occasionally I also get guests with children. 50 or 60% of my guests return again, which is great because it allows me to build a relationship with them over time.
Can you tell us a little more about Zierikzee? What makes this area unique?
Zierikzee is located on an island in the Southwest of the Netherlands. It has a rich history and there is a lot to see! The oldest building is from the 13th century, and 800 years ago the town was twice the size it is now. It was almost like a metropolis and would trade with places like Africa, Greece and Turkey. We also have the Delta Work that was built after a big flood in 1953, which has impacted this area a lot. There is a museum about the Delta Work and the flood, which I always recommend guests to visit.
Do you know about the short-term rental regulations in the area?
I'm careful to comply with all regulations. At first, I researched the national legislation and then the local legislation. I know that it can be different in large cities, but here it was actually quite straightforward to get a license. I had to complete an application form and confirm that I was the main resident of the property. I am not allowed to rent out the entire house, only rooms. And as I live in a residential neighborhood, I decided to only advertise one room and limit it to no more than two guests. And of course I also pay the local tourist tax. This ensures that the money earned through hosting benefits the local area, which is very important to me as a proud resident.