Your spare bedroom could be earning you some extra cash
YOU may not know it but your spare bedroom could be earning you money.
Emerald Beach resident Susie Moore ran a successful bed-and-breakfast in a former life in Cornwall, United Kingdom.
So when she began thinking of ways to make extra cash here, one option shone through.
"I was online, on Facebook, and I saw an ad for Airbnb - I thought yes, I have to do this," Susie said of her "aha" moment.
Airbnb is a revolutionary online concept that allows travellers to search for rooms or private houses and apartments, and owners of those properties to put their space online for free.
The California-based company insures hosts to the value of $1million in damages, charges a flat fee of 3% per booking, and handles all financial transactions through its glossy, secure website.
"I signed on in November and it's been going crazy, which is great," Susie said.
"All the guests that have booked through them have been spot on - clean, neat, and polite."
Fellow Airbnb convert Lorna Downey and her husband made the sea change from Melbourne to Bellingen's outskirts 15 years ago, and were trying to come up with ways of making use of the extra space in their home.
"I saw an article about Airbnb and thought it was a great idea for my own travel plans, and thought it would work in our own lives too," Lorna said of her decision to sign up her spare room for holiday makers.
"We have flexibility, we pick and choose when we want people."
The idea has been relatively slow to catch on with Australian homeowners, but a massive launch party in Sydney in December - complete with celebrity guests Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher - has helped spread the word.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the site is particularly popular with internet savvy travellers aged between 25 and 50.
To allay common fears about having strangers in your home, Airbnb have devised a recommendations system for both guests and hosts.
Lorna said that she had never felt uncomfortable with any of her guests, many of whom are travelling in our region for the first time.
"I don't even feel like I'm with strangers, just like I'm hosting friends of friends," she said.
"We have flexibility, we pick and choose when we want people," Ms Downey said.
For more info, go to airbnb.com.au.