A glass tile pool and jacuzzi, mountainous views stretching miles across the Sonoran Desert, rides throughout the expansive desert in a Kawasaki 4x4 Mule.
These are only a few notable features found at a northern Scottsdale home owned by residents William and Yvonne Kilpatrick, which they’ve shared with nearly 300 others.
The longtime local residents of more than 40 years, have been Airbnb hosts for nearly six years – almost as long as they’ve owned their home.
They’ve been successful at it too, as they were recently named one of the most wish-listed homes on Airbnb across 15 Arizona cities.
“We have had a lot of people from all over the world and everybody loves it. But, yeah, I was somewhat surprised,” Williams said.
The other Arizona cities included in the Airbnb wish list include Phoenix, Flagstaff, Lake Havasu, Sedona, Tucson, Lake Powell, Gilbert, Tempe, Williams, Mesa, Pinetop, Prescott, Glendale and Chandler.
Located just steps away from their main home, the 900-square-foot casita listed on Airbnb has one bedroom, one bathroom and is located less than a half-mile from Troon North Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale.
It’s the home’s location in northern Scottsdale that makes the listing so popular, William said.
“We’re up in the higher elevation of North Scottsdale and it’s high Sonoran Desert. We’re surrounded by all the beautiful mountains, the boulders and a lot of hiking trails in the area. It’s real private, super-quiet up here,” he said. “It’s more like living in town rather than staying at a hotel.”
Guests also love the Kilpatricks’ dogs.
“They’re half-German shepherd, half boxer. They’re real friendly,” William said.
The $154-per-night casita received many positive reactions, with more than 255 reviews and an overall 4.95 rating.
“A must!” wrote one guest. “Every need and want is anticipated before you even know. What a desert gem! Spectacular views, amazing amenities, perfect location and by far most hospitable hosts we have met! If you want Scottsdale, Sonoran Desert beauty, star-filled night skies, minutes from golf, hikes, shopping and dining, this is it!”
William said they were turned on to Airbnb by their solar-paneling installer.
“We actually bought a solar system from a guy in 2013 and he was asking about our house, how big it was, this and that. We were telling him we have a guest house and he said he does Airbnb and we should check into it. We had never even heard of it, so we looked into it and decided it was something we were going to try to do,” William said.
They liked being hosts so much, they also listed their Tucson home on Airbnb.
“My wife, she goes down to Tucson a lot to get the house ready down there. So, that’s more challenging,” William said. “We have a four-day minimum down there, so we don’t have any back-to-backs.”
The Scottsdale home allows back-to-back bookings.
“It’s not too challenging, but mainly just getting it ready and in perfect shape,” William said. “We’re very booked in the wintertime.”
In the summer, locals book the Kilpatricks’ casita for staycations – mostly to use their pool.
“Somebody will come up for two nights — and they live in Mesa or Phoenix — and want to go swimming, have a small birthday party, or something like that. I would say it’s become more popular,” William said.
According to Airbnb Senior Public Policy Director Laura Spanjian, the number of travelers using Airbnb to visit Scottsdale grew steadily over the past few years. Scottsdale hosted nearly 220,000 guests over the last year.
From Nov. 2018 through Nov. 2019, Airbnbs in Scottsdale received 219,7000 inbound guests, with most traveling from Chicago, Phoenix, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“Holiday weekends and big events, like golf tournaments and Spring Training baseball games, typically lead to a big spike in Scottsdale bookings and we expect to see it again in the coming year,” Spanjian added.
“We’ve had people from seven different countries and mainly from out of state,” he said. “It’s interesting meeting all the different people and seeing why they’re coming to Scottsdale. A lot of them are looking to move here, actually.”
William added they’ve had guests from France, Germany, Honduras, England, Iceland, Russia and Mexico.
William and Yvonne keep in contact with a handful of their guests. They’ve also had people book the home to film a documentary.
“We have some great friends from Minnesota that have stayed with us three times now and they’ve become real good friends,” William added.
Airbnb recently announced its community generated $53.3 million in tax revenue for Arizona since the company began collecting and remitting applicable taxes in 2017.
This figure includes about $23.1 million from Jan. 1 through Oct. 31, 2019.
“The Airbnb community continues to make significant, positive economic contributions across Arizona, generating tax revenue and helping families earn meaningful extra money,” Spanjian said.
And, according to Airbnb’s press release, Airbnb and its host community appeared to complement rather than directly compete with the hotel industry.
“We remain committed to working with communities around the state to ensure short-term rentals continue providing sustainable tourism with long-term benefits to the community,” Spanjian said.
The Kilpatricks are happy to be doing their part.
“I think we’ll be doing it for quite some time,” William said of being Airbnb hosts. “It’s been really cool. It’s better than having a part-time job.”