Karla Hostetler has been listing her Scottsdale guest house on Airbnb for over four years and recently was recognized as one of the online lodging platform’s best in Arizona.
The 1,200-square-foot, one bed, one bath home has its own garage, washer and dryer and shares a large backyard and pool with the Hostetler’s main home – which guests are welcome to enjoy.
Although Hostetler has been the owner of an Airbnb property for four years, her affinity for the company began a bit earlier.
Between seven and eight years ago, Hostetler began using Airbnb while traveling and loved the concept.
When she returned home, she decided she wanted to sell her home and get a larger property with a guest house that she could use as an Airbnb and have on hand when her or her husband’s parents decided they wanted to move in.
“I said ‘you know what, I’m getting a little tired of driving to do different things, we love Airbnb, let’s get a place that has a guest house we’ll try as an Airbnb,’” Hostetler said.
Her 5-star Airbnb has amassed almost 120 positive reviews as people have raved about the location of the property and how friendly of a host Hostetler is.
“When people come here, I want them to have a great experience,” she said. “I want it to be fun.”
Hostetler begins each experience by greeting guests at the door of the property, then gives her guests a tour of the home that begins in the living room.
The living room is decorated with cozy leather furniture surrounding an entertainment center stocked with board games and an Xbox gaming console.
Inside the living room is a breakfast bar and a dinner table while the bedroom provides a warm feel and a sliding glass door that leads out to the property’s backyard.
At the end of the tour, Hostetler shows her guests a binder with general information about the property, restaurants to dine at and things to do.
“When people check in and I meet them, I can give so much better suggestions once I see them,” she said. “I always suggest the Musical Instrument Museum – especially when it’s hot – the Phoenix Zoo, Botanical Gardens Phoenix, McDowell Mountain Ranch, Railroad Park and the Butterfly Wonderland.”
She even categorizes restaurants and things to do by the distance from the residence.
“I put my favorite places to go to that are close and then I put my favorite places like 20 minutes away,” Hostetler said. “I did breakfast places in particular, golf courses, movie theatres and stuff that I enjoy doing when I travel or things, I wouldn’t want them to miss out on if I were here on vacation.”
Hostetler benefits most from the state’s tourism season, which generally picks up at the beginning of the year.
“From the middle of January to the beginning of April, I’m packed,” she said. “When Barrett-Jackson starts and then there’s the Arabian horse that feeds into Phoenix Open and then spring training kicks off.”
Hostetler stated that during that time, it is not uncommon for her to have guests check out in the morning and then have new guests check in the same afternoon.
When tourists aren’t in and out of her property, Hostetler has seen a substantial number of reservations from patients at the Mayo Clinic.
Hostetler has said that she has met the nicest people through running an Airbnb, although one guest that came to receive experimental treatment at the Mayo Clinic became her most memorable.
A woman stayed at Hostetler’s home for seven weeks last December, at a time where Hostetler was redoing her living room and had moved an existing piano into the guest bedroom.
She was initially worried about the move, but it turned out to be the perfect coincidence.
The guest was an accomplished pianist and played the piano during her entire stay.
“I just thought, what were the chances that I happened to put that piano in the bedroom,” Hostetler said with a laugh.
Though that was one of the most memorable moments of her time as an Airbnb host, Hostetler best exemplified what hospitality means to her with another guest interaction.
She had an older couple in town to watch a Milwaukee Brewers spring training game who had trouble printing their tickets.
Hostetler had the couple come into the main house and they all sat together at the computer and were able to get the tickets printed successfully.
“It’s just things like that where I think how could I make that state better? That took no effort to come over and do it,” she said. “Whatever you can do to make it more fun and make it work for them, I guess that’s hospitable, being a nice person.
Hostetler prides herself on her generosity as a host and always loves when that generosity is reciprocated.
“We’ve met really the nicest people and it’s nice when you see them come back,” she said.