VRS041 – How to be Successful in Airbnb with Glenn Cooley

Earlier this year I interviewed Rex Brown of Holiday Rental Mastery in Melbourne and he shared his excitement at the success of his Airbnb listing in booking his city apartment.

A few months later, Jasper Ribbers promoted his new book, Get Paid for Your Pad – a host's guide to Airbnb.

And now, this week I had the pleasure of talking with Glenn Cooley, who is the founder and moderator of the New Host forum on Airbnb.

I've learned a lot about this platform from these three experienced Airbnb'ers as well as some interesting articles from Skift, the travel intelligence company.

Airbnb has been a true disruptor in travel, and we’ll continue to keep a close watch as it matures into a broader industry player. — Jason Clampet, Skift

tweet@gglennc joins @cottageguru to discuss his role as the ‘New Host' forum moderator with #airbnb. Take a look here

Recently, vacation rental marketing expert Matt Landau wrote a brilliant summary of his view on the corporate cloaking of customer data by the San Fransisco-based company.  Matt turned over a fair share of the comments to Glenn, who in his short time with Airbnb has carved himself out a role as a platform expert (he is not employed by Airbnb). Glenn tells the story of how he went from the heady theatrical world of Cirque Du Soleil as stage manager for Las Vegas and Hollywood shows, to personifying the sharing economy in his beloved city of Los Angeles.  He shares his insights into Airbnb, its past, present and future trends, and finishes by giving us five tips on how to be successful in the Airbnb space. We talked about:

  • the differences between Airbnb and the traditional listing sites
  • the similarities between stage management and ‘opening the house' to preparing for guest arrival
  • How traditional listing sites are more ‘real estate' while Airbnb offers an ‘experience'
  • The qualities of an Airbnb host
  • Why it's important to understand how the system works before jumping in
  • the importance of great beds and why Glenn is ‘a disciple of the church of Mercedes Brennan!'
  • how and why to initiate the feedback loop
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Sites mentioned:

Airbnb Host Info VRS021 – Successful Owner Series – Rex Brown

VRS029 – How to Get Paid for Your Pad – Jasper Ribbers

6 Ways Airbnb Change Hospitality and the Vacation Rental Industry

…And this is why Matt’s not talking about Airbnb – Matt Landau

Mercedes Brennan, 1ChicRetreat and Sexy Bedrooms


Where you can find Glenn:











Glenn Cooley

Heather, thank you so much for having me on your podcast. I really enjoyed our chat and look forward to when we can do it again.


Great interview- I’m moved slightly off middle about listing on Air BnB thanks to Glenn’s insight. May have to take the plunge!

Seems to be a theme for me lately – diving head first. The analogy about stage management sums up how I approach welcoming guests- setting the stage for each guest and putting on a show!

Now off to take Glenn’s advice to heart and learn more about how the Air BnB platform really works- Thanks Heather and happy travels 🙂

Ridgecrest Cottage

I would highly discourage it as a former AirBnBer.
First of all the community – where you go to get advice – is not overly friendly.
Secondly, in the time that we got over 30 bookings on VRBO we got 3 on AirBnB. Some would say, well that’s 3 more than you would have gotten…but… the first family was strange and demanding, the second group left because they were uncomfortable at the gas station 2 miles away. Hey, the 3rd group was nice. LOL!
Thirdly, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get help over the phone. They ‘help’ but unfortunately don’t know what they are doing. I was given the wrong advice more than once and had to pay for it. Quite literally. I was told by some on the community (yes, Glenn being one of them) that what I had done was wrong and I shouldn’t have done something so ignorant. I had done EXACTLY what the customer rep had told me to do.
Fourtly, AirBnB seems to be work better in places with more dense populations and for those who have rooms rather than houses. If you are renting a house in a suburb or rural area it just doesn’t work. I’ve talked with other AirBnBers like myself who rent whole houses and they haven’t had luck either.

Heather Bayer

That’s an interesting take and thank you for sharing it.
When I was at the podcasting conference recently I lost count of the number of people who talked about Airbnb as if it was the only option. When I talked more to them, it did appear as if they were mainly talking about more urban locations, but all mentioned whole homes rather than rooms.
There may be a particular demographic that is using this platform rather than the traditional listing sites – most of the people I was speaking to were Gen X & Y. There were no baby boomers as far as I could tell. I think that group is more likely to stick to VRBO – but that is just my musing.
However, I can see that a poor customer service experience could be a big turn-off.

Heather Bayer

My pleasure Glenn…it was great to talk with you.

Ridgecrest Cottage

I would be part of that “Generation Y” you are referring to.
Demographics are a HUGE thing in AirBnB, thankfully not so much with VRBO and FlipKey.

Glenn Cooley


I am sorry you and Ryan left with such hard feelings
about the community. No one ever said you were ignorant. In fact,
when you were unclear on how cancellations and refunds worked, several
of us stuck with you so that you were able to resolve the situation to
your benefit. Otherwise you would have lost money when you shouldn’t

Airbnb isn’t for everyone. As I mentioned in the
podcast, there are certain things I don’t like at all about Airbnb. If I
was getting 10 reservations from another source for every 1 from
Airbnb, I would have left also. Why waste time trying to figure it all out when you
aren’t getting the results you want and you don’t like the people you’re dealing with? Life is too short.

didn’t have a good experience, so you left. If I was under the same
circumstances, I probably would have done the same thing. I would have
left too.

All I ask is that you be fair when publicly referring
to other
people by name, especially when they are volunteering their time to help
you. Long before there was much of a host community at all, I formed
the New Hosts Forum to account for my of my own lack of knowledge and as
a result of my own frustrations about what was expected of me as a
host. I grew up in a small town and my parents didn’t travel so I
didn’t have the experience growing up as a kid to even know what a
vacation rental was.

I’m sorry you left unhappy and didn’t have
a good
experience. I wish there was something we could have done
differently but there wasn’t then and there’s clearly not now. I wish
you well in your future endeavors and hope that you have found success
in your business.

All the best,

Ridgecrest Cottage

I never would have lost money because I fought it. It had nothing to do with those people that were telling me I did something I shouldn’t (though I was just following the exact instructions of the AirBnB rep) – and then reported me…I won’t name any names LOL.

Ridgecrest Cottage

I wrote a reply and then deleted it. We’ve been over this before – more than I cared to before. I don’t care to start on another site and ruin it too. Good luck.

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