Forgetting the dreadful grammar though rather catchy title of this particular blog, I thought that I would share a recent interview appearance I made on the national BBC radio network over here.
Whilst I was on holiday in Croatia two weeks ago and staying in a very nice and extremely low-budget Airbnb accommodation, I was on a day-trip to Montenegro and had the rather surreal experience of picking up an email from the BBC whilst having lunch alongside the harbour just a mile from Casino Royale surrounded by extremely ostentatious yachts owned by rather slovenly dressed Russian oligarchs.
Back home in Blighty something of a scandal had appeared in the beautiful county of Cornwall in the SW of England. A place eternally popular with surfers, holidaymakers and no doubt annoyingly for the locals, second-home owners from less sunny but wealthier parts of the U.K.
Apparently Airbnb has now become so successful that the association of B&B’s are unhappy as regular people like you and I are making life difficult for them. For some reason it seems that people would rather stay in my house for example for £25 per night than £50 0r £60 in a regular B&B or £100 in one of the cheaper hotel chains. Why oh why would people want to save so much money for higher quality service is really quite beyond me.
In the USA, certain cities such as New York have got their knickers in a twist over tenants sub-leasing their rooms or apartments on Airbnb. Some rowdy guests no doubt being too noisy for their neighbours and vested commercial interests in the hotel industry unhappy at being undercut.
Of course if I go to New York, if I possibly can then I will stay in an Airbnb style property. I’m sure most people would rather my money went to a local family, my food and drink purchases from local vendors at local competitive prices rather than straight into the pockets of large international chains and often out of the community too.
In the U.K. it is entirely different, the government actually encourages everyone to open up their homes or spare rooms to strangers and we receive almost £5,000 / $8,000 tax relief for doing so.
For some reason Airbnb didn’t want to appear on the BBC to counter the hotel industry and so having seen my book “How To Get Rich Using Airbnb“, I was contacted by a BBC producer asking if I would like to appear on the Mark Forrest Show. I explained to them that I was staying in Croatia and currently in Montenegro but I expected to be back to my room about half an hour before the show.
It all felt rather surreal. Is this what it feels like to be a celebrity, doing business online outside the Casino Royale? Maybe a little but they would no doubt have an assistant to liaise with the producer and perhaps they’d get paid. Not that I wanted paying, I was just happy to go on air and perhaps get a mention of my book.
It was an exciting trip back to Dubrovnik involving tunnels, ferry crossings and a much delayed border crossing when a car from Albania in front of us was pulled over for 15 minutes as the occupants where thoroughly interrogated. However I made it back and after having a celebratory ice-cream with my lovely guide.
There were one or two hitches at first getting connected, including my giving them an incorrect contact number by 1 digit but I’m blaming that on the wifi connection! I had been listening online to the radio show, I sometimes listen to it in any case and I’m familiar with the format and I like Mark too as a presenter.
I must say, I don’t like public speaking. I don’t like speaking at all… that’s why I’m a writer but as a few people have said to me, doing my tours makes me almost like an actor. I get in the spirit of the place, the events or the people and put on a bit of a theatrical show.
This is actually my 4th broadcast appearance in the last year or so. I had previously been on the Danny Baker Show on BBC Radio 5 Live talking about my adventure of sneaking into the palace and sitting on the throne of King Hussein of Jordan (as in my travelogue Planes, Trains and Sinking Boats). Then almost a year ago a TV crew from Bloomberg television came to my house and interviewed me and talked about How To Get Rich Using Airbnb though this was a recorded feature so it wasn’t too pressurised. Finally about 6 months ago BBC Northern Ireland contacted me to take part on a panel about Football hooliganism and popular culture having seen my blog article “Falling out of love with football”; here I debated online with a sports reporter and some football managers!
As with my previous occasions my chief concerns were firstly not to get tongue-tied which I am quite capable of doing even talking to myself and secondly not to say anything stupid. Stupid broadly covering not making myself look an idiot, don’t debate down a dead-end argument and don’t make any claims about anything I didn’t really know.
I was much less worried this time, my 4th appearance… wow, almost a pro! I was a little worried that there would be time-lag on the line seeing as we were talking across continental Europe but it all went ok.
Understandably Mark had to start by asking the hard questions but I think I did very well for myself and I got the distinct feeling that by the end of the interview, he rather took a liking to me and my approach. After the next song and several times afterwards he mentioned on his show what a nice and genuine guy I was. He also said how incredible it was that I was doing so well with an absolutely typical British family home.
Throughout the evening Mark and his team tweeted about my appearance and How To Get Rich Using Airbnb which he didn’t have to do and which I’m really grateful for.
You can hear my interview here at least for the next 2 weeks or so. Fast forward to about 25 minutes and 50 seconds and there I am. My name crops up later in the show too. I hope you like it and I came over professional enough. Some of my friends and family have said I did really well and some American friends realised I really do have an English accent.
Through the rest of the show it seemed the most listeners were both shocked that Airbnb was so successful and supportive of the whole idea though with anything else, a small minority didn’t seem too keen on the idea. That’s fine though, let them keep paying top rate for unfriendly and uncomfortable hotel rooms. We have over 130 5 star reviews and given that some of our guests have stayed for up to 6 months you can see just hw busy we must be.
As it happened I did sell quite a few extra copies of my book on Kindle and iBooks that night and subsequent days and when I got home I decided to update the book to a third edition seeing as I update it every year anyway to keep up with Airbnb and just refining the book.
I took the opportunity to mention that my book had now appeared on BBC too as well as Bloomberg and for the first time released a paperback edition. Personally I only read paper books, it might be politically incorrect for me to say so but I don’t read on electronic devices. I always make sure I release my books on paperback but for nearly 3 years I didn’t with my Airbnb book. Partly as the first edition was very brief and I felt bad about making a paper copy. Mostly though as Airbnb is an entirely Web and App based platform I presumed anyone savvy enough to use Airbnb would have ditched paper books.
However, I’ve already been proved very wrong as this now 3 year old book has been selling more than a copy a day in the week since it was released on paperback alone on top of its constant flow of electronic copy sales.
I hope you enjoyed my interview on the BBC. It’s incredible just how much attention one can get from a blog. How To Get Rich Using Airbnb has been number 1 ranked in 3 Amazon categories in the USA, UK and Japan in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Last but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Mark Forrest and his team for not just such a great opportunity but being so friendly and helpful throughout…. that and the fact his show is a really good listen and often on my Digital Radio.