Sarah has been an Airbnb Superhost since 2013. She started her journey in NYC renting out a basement suite in her own home after returning home from filming 8 episodes of an HGTV show, Beach Flip, where they flipped a beach house vacation rental in Gulf Shores, AL. After running their NYC short-term rental business out of their home for 3 years, Sarah and her husband Nick decided to pack up their 15 years of living in NYC and set out on a journey to find the perfect market to grow their short-term rental hosting business.
After traveling for about 6 months in their 37' travel trailer (spoiler alert: they now also rent it out on a short-term basis) they decided to make Columbus, Ohio their home.
They now not only own and operate their own 6 Airbnbs but they also operate a boutique hosting business, Stay Awhile Hosting Co. where they manage about 30 spaces for other homeowners.
Sarah's rentals have been featured on Airbnb's Instagram and blog, the Washington Post, Homes.com, and other outlets.
Sarah has a strong design and hospitality background, having worked in some of NYC's most luxurious hotels and restaurants. Pair that with her love of real estate and construction and it makes her an ideal host for short-term rentals.
Annette has an extensive background in operations and from 2008 - 2018 helped grow two businesses from the ground up to become multi-million dollar companies. When it came time to move on, she knew she wanted to get involved in the sharing economy and decided to partner with a prominent real estate developer. She introduced this developer to the short-term rental and Airbnb industry and, together, they opened up 4 short-term rentals. That developer now has a thriving short-term rental portfolio.
Knowing she wanted to do more for the short-term rental industry, Annette decided to start a podcast all about short-term rentals.
In the summer of 2018, Annette and Sarah met at a Columbus, Ohio City Council Meeting fighting for their right to host homes on Airbnb. The two shared a belief that the short-term rental industry needs hosts to be more hospitable. Every resource they'd come across in growing their own businesses was purely profit driven - and "heads in beds" just isn't their style.
After the City Council meeting the two met up for coffee and chatted for hours. At the time, Annette was starting her podcast so she asked Sarah to be one of her first guests on the show. When Sarah showed up, the two had an unexplainable synergy and the rest is history. They joined forces and the Thanks for Visiting podcast was born.
Now, in 2021, the Thanks for Visiting has hundreds of thousands of downloads and a thriving private community.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
Sarah's background is in real estate, hospitality, and interior design. She and her husband started fixing up properties together as a team in 2010. They bought their first property in NYC and the basement was ripe for renovation - it had its own door and access to the home. They dug down to make the ceiling regulation height and they added a shower to a bathroom. They started AirBnb'ing before AirBnb was cool. Sarah has also appeared on 8 episodes of the HGTV show Beach Flip.
Annette Grant's background is in business operations. She helped businesses in the retail space and in the service industry turn into multi-million dollar businesses. She knows how to make a business function and run and knows how to leverage the power of networking. When it was time to move on from that, she decided to get into the sharing economy and chose AirBnb as her next business venture. Because she loves networking, she partnered with Columbus' most prominent developers, took over some of his spaces, and turned them into money-making machines by being attentive short-term rental host.
Annette & Sarah are working on their Hosting Business Mastery membership, which is a private membership and continuing education community for short-term rental hosts.
Q: What motivated you to get started with the Thanks for Visiting podcast?
To level up what it means to be a host and squash the heads-in-beds mentality of getting rich quick and putting money before people.
Q: How have you grown your podcast listeners?
Truly by staying consistent! We consistently released one episode a week and showed up on instagram to chat with our listeners there. After two years of consistent pocasting and instagram posting, we are just now starting to utilize ads. Before using ads, we were at over 300k downloads. It's really about showing up and staying consistent!
Q: What are your goals for the future?
To build our membership and build awareness about putting hospitality and safety first in the short-term rental industry. We want to create beautiful spaces that will make their communities proud.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far?
Raise our voices louder who tend to clog the space with "massive passive" messaging, and reaching larger audiences from an organic standpoint. It's challenging to amplify our voices to drown out the voices talking about things we are against. We are trying to make our message more popular.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Stay focused and know where you want to be in 6 months-a year, but also be ready to pivot. Listen to what your audience is wanting and asking for, listen to what your industry is doing and make sure you're staying current in your industry. Stay true to your mission and know exactly why the heck you're doing what you're doing. When things get tough, you're going to have to go back to that why. Hone it in, remember what it is, and bring it to the forefront to help you keep going through all the hard times.