Travel News

Once an Evangelist for Airbnbs, She Now Crusades for Affordable Housing

Once an Evangelist for Airbnbs, She Now Crusades for Affordable Housing

“Making It Work” is a series is about small-business owners striving to endure hard times.

When Precious Price bought her first home four years ago in Atlanta while working as a marketing consultant, she took advantage of her frequent business trips by renting out her house on Airbnb during her absences. “I knew I wanted to use that as a rental or investment property,” she said. “I began doing that, and it was honestly very lucrative.”

For Ms. Price, 27, and other young entrepreneurs of color, online short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo represented a path to building wealth on their own terms. With an excellent credit score and minimal start-up capital — a primary barrier for people in this demographic — a professional Airbnb host could amass a stable of apartments on long-term leases, then turn around and rent those properties on a nightly basis to vacationers.

Some of these entrepreneurs see it as a more equitable alternative to corporate America, with its legacy of institutionalized bias and inflexibility toward caregivers and working parents. Others are motivated by the desire to cater to Black travelers, who say they still face discrimination even after platforms like Airbnb promised to address issues like documented cases of bias.

Ms. Price became an evangelist of sorts, establishing social media channels to teach other would-be entrepreneurs how to follow in her footsteps, and churning out a digital library’s worth of videos, tutorials and advice using the handle @AirbnbMoney.

The irony was not lost on Ms. Price that her grand real estate ambitions were propelled by the 296-square-foot “tiny house” she spent nearly six months building for herself in her backyard. When the coronavirus pandemic slammed the brakes on travel, grounding her road-warrior lifestyle and evaporating her supplemental income stream virtually overnight, her tiny house allowed her to continue renting out her primary home and making a large profit.

She even added to her portfolio, buying a second house and renting several furnished apartments in Atlanta’s popular Midtown neighborhood, and she eventually left her consulting job to manage her rental business full time.

“It was a freeing experience at the time,” she said. “I’m making a ton of money that most of my family has never seen in their lifetime.”

Ms. Price was earning as much as $12,000 a month and deriving a sense of purpose from her work on social media helping her peers achieve…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at NYT > Travel…