Notes on Hosting: Japan Invites The World

Japan is in the midst of a big twelve months. The Rugby World Cup? Just a warm-up. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will see visitors from every nation on Earth arriving in this most mysterious of countries. Japan is hosting the world – what can guests expect?

Sure, expect the bright lights of Shinjuku, the centuries-old temples, and a whole range of brilliant (and sometimes weird) delicacies. But above all, expect a unique approach to hospitality… Omotenashi.

What on Earth is Omotenashi?

Omotenashi is the Japanese approach to hospitality and service.

  • ‘Omote’ means ‘the public face’: the image one may wish to present to others.
  • ‘Nashi’ means ‘nothing’.

Combined, it represents a service where there is nothing hidden, no secrets, honesty.

Where did Omotenashi begin?

geisha public face

The Japanese trace the origins of omotenashi to 16th-century tea master Sen no Rikyū, and his chakai (tea ceremony). Each chakai was considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it had to be prepared and performed with the utmost care and attention.

The tea masters performed the ceremony right in front of their guests, demonstrating that nothing is hidden. But more than anything the ‘service’ had to genuine, honest. Sen no Rikyū had a poem to sum up omotenashi:

“Though you wipe your hands and brush off the dust and dirt from the vessels, what is the use of all this fuss if the heart is still impure?”

Sen no Rikyū

What does this mean today?

sushi restaurant

The concept of omotenashi is pervasive in Japan. It’s why in many restaurants the chefs prepare food right before you, or why the train conductors bow to every carriage.

Interestingly, it’s also why tipping is considered strange – rude, even. Service in the West is a transaction (extra money for good service). But as a result the friendly smiles and ‘have a great day!’ can seem a little fake.

If you’re truly performing omotenashi, then the service should be without reward. Otherwise it’s not as ‘honest, nothing hidden’ as it appears. Tipping may call sincerity into question.

Is it all good?

Omotenashi is uniquely Japanese. Foreign visitors have found elements of the concept uncomfortable or – ironically – dishonest. Some visitors just want to be left alone to enjoy their meals or shopping. Certain ryokans have even stopped the tradition of lining up outside to greet guests as a result of feedback and changing tastes.

One thing’s for sure though, people need to discover omotenashi and Japan for themselves – hundreds of thousands are about to do exactly that.


Always dreamed of experiencing Japan one day? Let your home pay for your holiday next summer. We’ll take care of your property, from listing creation to cleaning and everything in between. You take care of Tokyo.

Find out how much you could earn with our instant calculator.

Scare-bnb! Five spooky Halloween homes on Airbnb

halloween haunted airbnb

Did you feel like your last Airbnb was missing something? Fresh towels, salt and pepper… a little paranormal activity? Well, worry not. There’s a whole range of haunted Halloween hosting options out there to satisfy your needs. We’ve selected five of the creepiest, and you’ll be pleased to hear they’re all available to book now!

1. The Sealed Bedroom

Over 100 years ago, in a dark windswept manor on the Scottish coast, little Jack always complained of noises in the night. Sent back to bed, he was found dead one morning. Then the hauntings truly started. Terrified, his parents filled the room with religious symbols, and sealed the bedroom – they never set foot in it again.

Jack’s bedroom has now been painstakingly recreated in an ex-council house in Essex, England. Whilst that’s not a common horror setting, the chamber looks genuinely terrifying and visitors have sworn to unexplained noises and smells. According to one recent review, should you make it through the night, the breakfast is excellent too. Good to know.

2. The House of Trembling Madness

York is England’s most haunted city, and this is surely York’s most haunted Airbnb. Set in the shadow of York Minster (haunted, naturally), the house itself is over 650 years old, and is built on top of Norman foundations dating back to 1150 AD.

So there’s been plenty of time for ghosts to make their home here. The history of the property is unclear, however there’s been several sightings of ghostly figures down the years. Some have even reported a headless woman floating around – though that could have been a guest returning from the neighbouring pub.

3. The Gettysburg Field Hospital

The Battle of Gettysburg took place during the American civil war, and resulted in around 50,000 casualties – the most costly battle in US history. In the aftermath of the battle, the Union Army used surrounding farms, barns and churches as makeshift hospitals for the wounded.

David Stewart Farmhouse was one such hospital and many soldiers lost their lives within its walls. The owner, Stephani, says she’s had many encounters with ghosts over the years. Happily – despite their sad history – they’ve all been very friendly. Apparently.

4. The Q Station

The North Head Quarantine station, Sydney, was the final resting place for over 500 of its forced residents. From the 1830s through to 1984 new arrivals in Australia who were suspected of harbouring infectious diseases were confined here.

The station is supposedly Australia’s most haunted spot. In fact, every single building on the site houses ghosts – visitors have spotted nurses, doctors and patients walking the wards. If all this sounds like your cup of tea, then feel free to check-in to the site’s hotel. Hopefully they’ll let you check-out, too…

Note: So this one isn’t actually available on Airbnb, but its on Booking.com so we think it qualifies! Spooking.com anyone…? Anyone?

5. The Ghost Town Shack

If you’re not content with just one ghost, how about a whole ghost town? The railroad had made Cisco, in Utah, a bustling and wealthy frontier town. But after the construction of the nearby Freeway the town declined – it now sits ruined and deserted.

If you fancy isolation (and a stunning night sky) then two separate shacks are available to rent. You won’t be entirely alone though – Charles Steen, a local businessman, still haunts Cisco. Steen grew rich on nearby uranium deposits, but lost his entire fortune just a few years later. Maybe he just wants some company…


‘The Next Airbnb’ – Five Possible Companies

JustPark Boatsetter Eatwith Peerspace Getaround

Airsorted operate in 22 cities around the world, so we know that the cost of living in one can get pretty pricey these days. Luckily, it seems as if every day there’s a new platform helping you earn some extra cash. Thanks to the booming sharing economy – set to be worth $335 billion to the US economy by 2025 – it’s easier than ever to earn while you’re traveling, working, or even sleeping. We’re tipping these five to be the next Airbnb…

1. Getaround

Getaround is Airbnb for your car. Car owners all over Europe and the US can let their own car out at an hourly rate, or rent one themselves! I hear you, what about insurance? Getaround cover every car for up to $1,000,000 – renters and owners alike.

2. Peerspace

Peerspace recently launched in San Diego, Airsorted’s American home, letting out unique event spaces by the hour. Homeowners, office-owners, and studio-owners alike can rent their space while it’s left idle. Similar to Airbnb but for meetings, performances, events – anything you can think of! Convert your space into cash without making any beds.

Peerspace airbnb
Peerspace offer unique spaces for a range of needs.

3. JustPark

Do you live near the stadium? The station? You could be parking on a goldmine. JustPark allows homeowners to rent out their driveways at an hourly rate. Spaces cost around $10 an hour and are an easy moneymaker if your spot sits empty while you’re at work, running errands, or away.


What even is the sharing economy?

what is sharing economy

4. Eatwith

Airbnb has come along way since 2008, but it started as a way to stay with locals, not just rent their house. Eatwith takes this simple idea and applies it to food. It’s perfect for those amateur chefs among you wanting to show off your skills! You can either host a private event, give a cooking class or act as a food tour guide.

5. Boatsetter

Airbnb for… yep, you guessed it. Boat owners can let for full days or half days, so unless you plan to be on the boat every day next summer this is the perfect money maker. Particularly lucrative on bank holidays – just add water.

We’ve picked five of our favourites here, but there are endless opportunities to explore secondary income options. Whether you have space to fill in your home, driveway or kitchen, the sharing economy is here to help and it’s here to stay. 


Looking to earn your own second income? Find out how much your home could earn you by heading to our Pricing Calculator for an immediate estimate.

Interning at Airsorted: Luke O’Neill (Client Success)

Luke O'Neill graduation Airsorted

English and Economics graduate Luke joined us this summer for a three month, fully-paid internship. Now that he’s back in Ireland studying again, we think it’s high time to catch up with him about his London experience.


Could you describe your internship in three words?

  1. Challenging.
  2. Exciting.
  3. Rewarding.

 

What interested you about working at Airsorted in the first place?

I finished my degree in May, and was eager to gain some practical business experience before beginning my master’s in Dublin. I’ve always been interested in start-ups – and someday hope to start my own – so working at a rising start-up like Airsorted was a great opportunity. I also think the field Airsorted operates in is very interesting. The world of Airbnb home-sharing is a new-one, so we were the first ones to encounter some of the challenges we faced!

 

What skills did you develop here?

I worked on the Client Success Team which involved directly liaising with hosts and resolving any issues. This tested and improved my communication and relationship-building skills. 

I was asked to contribute on solutions for wider operational issues too, so I left feeling more confident in my organisation, critical-analysis, and problem solving skills.

 

London vs. Dublin

Camden Hells or Guinness?  If I suggested anything other than Guinness I could lose my citizenship. 
A full English or full Irish? Has to be the full-Irish. 
Thames or Liffey? Until I get to do a boat party on the Liffey, I’ll vote Thames!
Hampstead Heath or Phoenix Park? I never made it to the Heath! But it’s on my list for next time.
London office or Dublin office? Couldn’t possibly choose.

 

What was challenging, surprising or enjoyable about your internship?

  • It was quite trying at first, just as starting any new job is. There’s a very steep learning curve and they want employees to deliver right from the start. The benefit is that they immediately give you genuine responsibility, and I feel as though I was playing my part in helping the business. I certainly wasn’t there to make cups of tea!

  • I was surprised and impressed by Airsorted’s eagerness to hear employees’ ideas. If anyone has suggestions (even interns), they want to hear that feedback. If I expressed an interest in a certain area, or felt as though improvements could be made, managers were always willing to see if they were implementable. I am very fortunate to have been given that chance.

  • Besides the summer boat party on the Thames, I think the most enjoyable aspect of the job was being around genuine, smart, friendly people.

 

What did you get up to in London?

Although my internship was quite busy I did manage to make the most of my time in London. I visited the Houses of Parliament, British Museum, the Sky Garden, and even reached as far as Stonehenge. 

London office awarded top 100
Our brand new London office, based in Farringdon. We were voted one of the top 100 companies to escape to 2019!

 

What’s next for you?

I’m now studying for a master’s in International Business Management at Trinity College Dublin. I feel that Airsorted was perfect preparation for it and I can apply the knowledge gained there to my course.

I am also working part-time at Airsorted’s Dublin office. I left Airsorted London on a Tuesday and was offered a job in the Dublin office the following week. If you show you want to work hard and learn they will absolutely reward you for that. 

Beyond my master’s I hope to enter a career in consultancy or get involved in the startup scene once again. 


Airsorted are hiring! We’re looking for bright, ambitious candidates with a pro-active nature and a willingness to learn. Sounds like you? Find out more.

Through the Keyhole: 10 Questions with 3 Airsorted Employees

As a service that works closely with many different people, from hosts to housekeepers to handymen and guests, there’s always a lot going on behind the scenes at Airsorted.

We caught up with three team members – Karl from Guest Experience, Jenn from Supplier Management and Sophie from Client Success – to find out more about them and what their working day looks like in the world’s largest host management business.

Karl Frewer, Guest Experience Executive

Describe yourself in three words.

Confident, outgoing, fun.

What do you do at Airsorted?

My role is to ensure that guests have a safe, easy experience when they stay at one of our hosts’ properties. This can include check-ins, issues with amenities in properties, or just sharing suggestions for fun activities to do in the local area: restaurants, local attractions, and a few hidden gems.

What’s the one thing hosts should know about your role?

We always have the interests of our hosts in mind. Guest experience is the name of our team, but really our role sits between our hosts and their guests. For example, there are some occasions when a guest will ask about something that would improve their stay, but we’ll always consider whether something could affect a property or a host negatively in future before saying yes.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

There’s a genuine satisfaction in actually helping people. I once had someone call us in tears on the phone to me because they were tired after travelling, their phone was about to die, and they were having trouble finding the lockbox to a property. It was an easy problem to fix, but I could hear the relief in her voice once she was in the property – such a great feeling!

And the hardest part?  

One of the hardest parts is communication. It’s true that guests can sometimes be difficult, but that’s part of the job. If I’d just arrived somewhere after 24 hours of travelling and the hot water wasn’t working or something, I’d be annoyed too! It’s understandable that people are upset sometimes, but making sure we communicate in the right way can solve a lot of these issues quickly.  It’s something we’re pretty good at too, and that’s amazing – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy!

What’s your hidden talent?

I did acting for a long time, so I’d say performance. It’s because of this that I really enjoy speaking in front of people and meeting new people, I think.

What do you look for in a property when you’re booking as a guest?

Personally, I’m the sort of person who, when I’m booking somewhere, I’m booking somewhere to sleep. I’ll be out most of the day exploring, so as long as the place is clean I’m happy!

What’s your top tip for hosts to get the most from Airsorted?

Generally, we try not to get in contact with hosts unless it’s absolutely necessary – we don’t want to waste people’s time. But if we do get in contact, it means it’s probably pretty important or urgent.

I’d advise hosts to do their best to respond quickly when we do get in touch. And if you take a few extra minutes to fill out your preferences in the host dashboard, that will mean we won’t need to contact you about anything unless it’s important. Doing that makes such a big difference in how effectively we can support your guests!  

What’s been your favourite moment at Airsorted so far?

Ah there was this one really nice review that a guest left. It was shared internally with the rest of the business on Slack, which was really nice as I got to enjoy a bit of recognition from both the guest and the team!

If you didn’t work at Airsorted, what would you be doing right now?

I’d probably be repairing and selling watches. I was repairing watches for a year or two before I started at Airsorted – I liked that it was customer-facing. Come to think of it, that’s what I really like about Airsorted too!

Jenn Ulloa, Senior Housekeeping Supply Analyst

Describe yourself in three words.

Energetic, positive, quick.

What do you do at Airsorted?

I look after the housekeepers. I make sure that they’re trained well, they have everything they need to complete their cleans effectively, and that we have enough housekeepers to meet the demand for cleans, all year round.

What’s the one thing hosts should know about your role?

We spend a lot of time coaching housekeepers. We’re constantly speaking to them before, during and after their cleans, in order to help them do the best job possible. So support and training definitely aren’t lacking when it comes to Airsorted’s housekeeping!

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Engaging with the housekeepers. Getting to meet them in person, learn what makes them tick outside of their job, and maintaining good relationships with them over time.

And the hardest part?  

Managing the schedules over 200 cleaners in London alone! It’s difficult, but we have a great team – so we always pull it off.

What’s your hidden talent?

Tap dancing! I used to do tap, jazz and ballet in my past life.  

What do you look for in a property when you’re booking as a guest?

Cosiness: a place that looks welcoming and doesn’t feel too sterile. I like quirkiness too – interesting books or paintings, something that shows a bit of the host’s personality and makes the property feel more human.

What’s your top tip for hosts to get the most from Airsorted?

It can be easy to forget that housekeepers will be visiting your property between each guest. As a host, it’s really important that after you’ve been staying in a property yourself, you make sure that it is suitably restocked with everything the housekeepers need to do their jobs brilliantly.

What’s been your favourite moment at Airsorted so far?

Sometimes the housekeepers that I coach will come into the office, or I’ll run into them in London – I love that! They’ll give me a hug sometimes; it’s like they’re my buddies!

If you didn’t work at Airsorted, what would you be doing right now?

I’d be working with refugees and migrants – I have a heart for humanitarian aid, and I’ve done a lot of volunteering at refugee camps which was really eye-opening. Sad to see in person, but interesting too.  

Sophie Robinson, Client Success Executive

Describe yourself in three words.

Happy, friendly, kind.

What do you do at Airsorted?

I’m the point of contact for my hosts and I’m responsible for looking after their properties when they’re being rented out. I keep a watchful eye on the condition of properties, make sure they’re performing well, and I’m available to answer any questions my hosts have.

What the one thing hosts should’s know about your role?

We want what’s best for you! Airsorted earns from commission, so it’s in our interests to make sure you are looked after and your property is earning you money. We only succeed when our hosts do.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Going and meeting people at their properties – I love building good relationships with my hosts and finding out all the unique things about their properties. Face to face is my favourite way to get to know my hosts properly.

And the hardest part?

The hardest part is speaking to a host if something hasn’t gone quite right. The reality with hosting, and host management in general, is that there are lots of people involved: guests, housekeepers, guest support, maintenance people, hosts and more. As with other parts of the hospitality industry, like restaurants for example, no matter how well you prepare there’s always a chance that human error can occur. Dealing with these unexpected issues can be a real challenge, but it’s also so rewarding when an issue is resolved satisfyingly for everyone involved.

What’s your hidden talent?

I do life drawing! I’m just really good at drawing naked bodies. I don’t know why.

What do you look for in a property when you’re booking as a guest?

I see an Airbnb as a home away from home, so you can really get a feel for what it’s like to live somewhere else for a couple of nights. I look for good decor – to me, that’s somewhere that is a bit quirky with cool art, nice furniture… A nice environment to spend time in. A bit of an aspirational feel too, perhaps!

What’s your top tip for hosts to help them get the most from Airsorted?

Trust the service. We look after peoples’ property, something that’s both very valuable and very personal, every single day – and we really do have your best interests at heart. It’s important to us that you feel confident with us looking after your property.

What’s been your favourite moment at Airsorted so far?

I think my favourite moment is ‘Superhost Day’. This comes about once every three months, and it’s when Airbnb send emails to let us know which of our hosts have become Superhosts. I get to email lots of hosts and let them know the good news, that they’ve become Superhosts!

If you didn’t work at Airsorted, what would be doing right now?

I’d be travelling every continent of the world, having a good old adventure!

How much do you actually know about Airsorted and Airbnb!? [Quiz]

What it’s like to intern at Airsorted

Airsorted is a young, dynamic prop-tech start-up with a vision to turn the short-term letting industry on its head.

As a company that celebrates youth, with our own CEO, James Jenkins-Yates, appearing in the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 2019 list, interns play a valuable part in ensuring Airsorted’s peak-season operations run seamlessly for hosts.

“Like most hospitality businesses, summer is our busiest time of year. Fortunately, this ties in well with the end of the typical University calendar,” explains Anna Roe, Head of People at Airsorted, “Internships offer a great opportunity to get some much-needed experience on your CV.”

“Airsorted Operations Department is basically split into two main areas. On the one hand, we have our energetic Client Success team who handle onboarding and host management. On the other is our analytical Supplier Management Team. These guys focus on everything to do with hiring, training and onboarding hundreds of cleaners, linen coordination and handymen contracting. Both are incredibly valuable skill sets for future jobs.”

Juan, who began his Airsorted career as an intern and is now Senior Supplier Management Executive in Airsorted Madrid.

Originally from Buenos Aires, Juan Arangio joined Airsorted in Edinburgh in June of 2018, as a Supply Management Intern. After working a hectic summer over the peak of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, helping to coordinate nearly 4,000 cleans across the city, Juan was seconded to Madrid to help set up Airsorted there. Juan studied International Business Management at Glasgow Caledonian University and is enjoying the hands-on experience of growing an international operation from scratch.

“From the minute I met Juan, I knew he would be a great asset to our team, Internships are all about attitude and Juan is positive, energetic and smart. He was always going to make the most out of this opportunity,” says Imogene Keane, Edinburgh City Manager.

Over the same period, Amber Brown joined Airsorted Edinburgh as a Junior Client Success Intern, using her love of language to craft excellent listings for our short-term letting hosts. Amber had just returned from a year teaching English in Madrid, and within a few weeks of starting was offered a permanent role as a Client Success Executive – now, she’s managing more than 80 host properties across Edinburgh.

“Of the four interns who joined Airsorted in Edinburgh last summer, two have remained within the Airsorted family, one joined Expedia immediately after leaving us and another is now working at a reputable marketing agency,” explains Imogene. “The hands-on experience you get at Airsorted stands you in good stead, wherever your next adventure will lead you.”

If you’re interested in developing your hospitality or supplier management skills, why not join Airsorted for a fantastic summer of hard work and fun?
Take a look at our jobs page now and see if there’s an Airsorted internship that could be right for you.

Get to know the Airsorted Housekeeping Team

A whole lot goes on behind the scenes to keep all our hosts’ properties running smoothly. Right at the centre of this is the Airsorted Housekeeping Team – they’re responsible for organising linen, laundry and of course cleaning in every host property after a guest has stayed.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without fantastic cleaners. In every city Airsorted operates, we find, train and incentivise committed cleaners to do the best job possible for our hosts. Guests arrive at a spotlessly clean property, but it’s unlikely that either a guest or a host will ever actually see the cleaner responsible…

To put an end to this, we’ve caught up with three of the champion cleaners that keep properties ship shape for Airsorted hosts and guests day in, day out:  

1. Liudmila, cleaning with Airsorted since March, 2017

One of the first cleaners to earn our coveted ‘Supercleaner’ status (awarded to cleaners who have an average clean rating of 4.8/5), Liudmila’s favourite thing about cleaning with Airsorted is the Housekeeping app.

Designed specially to make it easier for cleaners to plan and report on their cleans, the app puts all cleaning requests for Liudmila at her fingertips, allowing her the flexibility to manage her own schedule.

For example, Liudmila was recently able to book a holiday to visit her family in Moldova with the security of knowing that she can use the Housekeeping app to remotely accept cleaning jobs for when she returns. This means she’ll be able to return home with plenty of work lined up – and all conveniently listed in the app.

2. Zoltan, cleaning with Airsorted since November 2018

Based in London, Zoltan’s favourite thing about cleaning with Airsorted is getting to go and see different places across the city. His job brings him a lot of satisfaction, as he feels appreciated not only by the Housekeeping team at Airsorted, but also by the guests:

“I once went to the property that had a box of chocolates and flowers left for me. The guests wanted to say thank you to me for making them feel so welcome in London.”

3. Sarinya, cleaning with Airsorted since February 2017

With well over a thousand cleans under her belt, Sarinya (or ‘Puma’ as all her friends call her), is entirely deserving of her Experienced Cleaner status at Airsorted. She loves visiting new properties to clean, and draws a lot of inspiration from her visits:

“I go for walks alongside the canal with my husband, who’s an interior designer – we can talk for hours about the amazing interiors of some of the homes Airsorted manage.”
Puma’s also a keen cyclist, and likes being able to accept cleans at properties within her cycling distance. But it’s not just being able to choose which cleans to accept that she values… When she’s not cleaning properties for Airsorted hosts, Puma’s busy running her own business selling responsibly-sourced rice crackers! Cleaning with Airsorted gives her flexibility and extra income, allowing her to follow her passion and continue developing her own brand.

Introducing the Airsorted House Elves

Airsorted’s been getting into the festive spirit this year. So much so, we’ve decided not to leave it to Santa to deliver all the presents this time around.

We’ve enlisted the help of some ‘house elves’, to bring a little extra festive cheer to a random selection of guests staying in Airsorted properties all over the world during the festive period.

From this week, some lucky guests will arrive for their stay at some select Airsorted properties to find a present with their name on it waiting for them in the home!

Using information from the Airbnb profiles of guests, each gift has been carefully selected to suit a guest and lovingly wrapped, before being delivered into host properties by one of the Airsorted House Elves before the guests arrive.

Presents already delivered include a DIY origami kit, travel guides, an A to Z of fashion styles, a book of architectural walks through London, a Miami Heat snapback cap, and a couple of bottles of champagne, with more to come over the next few days.

We hope the gifts from our House Elves will help some guests to have unforgettable stays over the festive period, leaving host properties with happy memories (and 5-star reviews for their hosts!).

At the end of the day, it’s the personal touches which make a guest’s stay truly special. As a host management company, we pride ourselves on making the lives of our hosts hassle-free, but we’ll never lose sight of the importance of looking after both our hosts and each one of their guests with genuine care.

Airsorted hosts can look forward to an update on the House Elves and their gift-giving adventures in January’s ‘Host Post’ newsletter.

If you’re not yet a host with Airsorted, and you’d like to find out more about our service and what we can do for you, simply use the price calculator at the bottom of the page to get started by finding out how much you could earn from short-letting your home with us.