How Airbnb Hosts Make All The Difference

Rafael Martinez-Cortina| Posted on 2018-02-19 | ~4 min read

I have hosted world travelers in my place through Airbnb for some years now. As a host, I have been able to learn incredible things and experience unforgettable emotions with my peers. Each one of them has given me something very valuable. Some have provided knowledge and others have provided extraordinary moments. If you like nice challenges, hosting your peers through Airbnb will never deceive you.

Airbnb Hosts

The Story

Julia is a lovely Airbnb traveler from Helsinki, Finland. She is also an Airbnb host, so she knows the rules. In 2013, she wanted to surprise her mom with the most incredible Christmas present ever, and she required the help of a local host. With her dad’s help and silence, the three of them wanted to travel to Madrid (Spain) for several reasons. Julia´s mom thought they were going to Madrid just to enjoy the beginning of the Finnish Christmas season, which starts on Saint Nicholas Day, at the beginning of December. She could not imagine that she was just about to live one of the most extraordinary moments of her life. Julia told me her crazy plans and I could not say no. She made the reservation.

To begin with, why Christmas in Madrid? To my surprise, for the Finns, and for the Dutch Saint Nicholas comes from Spain. That sounds really weird to a Spaniard because we always thought that he was from Finland (an example of our lovely contradictions in the diverse European Union). Apparently, Sinterklaas in Finland is celebrated with the giving of gifts on December 5th, the night before St Nicholas Day. The popular Christmas icon of Santa Claus is based on Sinterklaas. In any case, Julia’s mother came to Madrid thinking that she would spend a relaxing week with her husband and her daughter.

The Arrival

They arrived on December 3rd, 2013. The first two days were truly joyful for Julia’s mom. I took them for a walk like I do with all my Airbnb guests. I am very lucky to live in the very center of Madrid. My neighborhood is basically 17th-century churches, 18th-century palaces, and 19th-century buildings now hosting 21st-century commercial spaces, like the Apple Store or lovely bakeries. My home is some 300 meters away from Puerta del Sol, Spain’s geographical center. Yeap, it seems like THE place to stay, so a walk around my neighborhood always works and has been regarded as a great start in all Madrid stays.

Airbnb Host

The three Finns visited the grand Prado Museum, promenaded around the lovely Retiro Park and freaked out with our splendid Royal Palace. For Julia’s mom, life seemed to be pleasant and smooth in Madrid. For Julia and for me, life became hectic. We had to organize the logistics for a surprise dinner for 12 people, taking place on December 5th, in my place with Julia’s four brothers and sisters-in-law coming from different places in the world. Madrid was the secret meeting point and they all arrived on the 5th. While Julia went with her parents to Toledo, a historical city close to Madrid, for a day tour, the four couples arrived in turns….plus the cook and the flowers. The dinner table was nicely set, the candles were lit, some soft jazz music was played and everything was organized to create a magical moment.

The Surprise

When Julia’s mom came from Toledo at 8.oo pm and saw ALL the members of her family, together for the first time in three years, she went into a shock. They were all there happy and smiling. There was a very heavy silence for some five seconds. She suddenly burst into tears and could not stop crying. She thought it was the happiest moment in her life and could not stop kissing her sons and daughters-in-law, becoming very emotional all the time, constantly thanking Julia. Food and wine were also delicious. Laughter filled up space. Julia’s dad made a speech and made me say some words. I was very happy when I was invited to share those moments with a happy family. Julia blinked at me. We made it!

Airbnb Host

And that is what the Sharing Economy is really about. I have learned that trust in the #sharingeconomy creates fabulous stories among strangers who nevertheless feel as peers. Julia’s incredible experience is only one of the thousands that have happened in Madrid and other cities with Airbnb travelers. Julia’s and other stories inspired a digital Grand Pas de Deux, started by Airbnb SuperHosts who got together in 2014 to create a local structure to connect all their travelers to Madrid’s secrets and to make sure that everybody feels connected, happy and safe 24/7.

The fable of the YottaConnector

If anything arises to any traveler, and it can, it is easily solved by one of the members of the connected community in less than 3 minutes. These connected citizens with 5-star reviews have now hosted thousands of Airbnb guests in Madrid, every single problem has been solved and all travelers have enjoyed a great experience. Two years later, these Airbnb hosts regrouped under a local network in Madrid called Yottotel feel more empowered. These Airbnb hosts are YottaConectors: digital proactive citizens who can now connect you to infinite local options, being Yotta the maximum prefix in the Metric System. Technology has allowed 5-star local citizens to connect with 5-star world travelers, and we love each other because we share values.

And yes. Julia’s experience can only happen in a home with a trustworthy local host. Hotels would have probably provided other emotions.


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