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    • We're very excited to have Lois Goodman - AirBNB Superhost, intuitive consultant, artist, and healer - joining us for a Cake Panel interview at 4 PM ET today, April 16. Please ask your questions before that time so Lois can answer!

      AirBNB defines a Superhost as "experienced, highly rated hosts who are committed to providing great stays for guests." Lois has been a member of AirBNB since 2010, and has two AirBNB locations in Austin Texas: location one and location two.

      In addition to her AirBNB Superhost status, a bit more about Lois' background: "I'm a professional Intuitive and relationship advice columnist. Lived here since 1981. I know my way around Austin and don't mind telling you all about it. Art car artist since 1999. I have decorated 5 cars and you will probably see my car in the driveway when you arrive. Weird home owner. Doing my best to keep Austin weird."

      Welcome Lois!

    • Property taxes. Really! Property taxes. They’d gotten so high in Austin, because we don’t have sales tax in Texas. So all property taxes are probably higher than almost every state. And I couldn’t afford to stay in my house anymore. I had the building in the back, I’d slept back there when my phone rings a lot, and I said “this is really comfortable, I sleep well back here.” So I was like “Well, that’s where I usually work,” so I thought I could work inside and I’ll give it a try. And it worked!

    • I always got 5’s, from the very beginning, 5 stars, which kind of makes you a Superhost. And then I don’t know when they started the program, maybe not too long after I got in, but then they could only take so many, and then they decided to stop and revamp it, and immediately when they started it up again, there was a waitlist to get reviewed - I think they did things differently back then, it became more sophisticated. I was in that second batch of Superhosts. Even though I’d always had 5 stars, they discontinued the program briefly, I had to wait to get back on technically as a “Superhost.”

    • I think everything changes. And I believe that I finally got the right bedspreads that matched the way I wanted it to look, I finally got the right carpet, I had different carpets and bedspreads before, and the linens are a big part of it. The rug is a big part of it. The overall ambiance! And so where it is now, I don’t see it really changing. It was good before, but it’s better now. 

    • All of your endeavors - your intuitive coaching and healing, your art and design, and your AirBNB hosting - seem very synergistic and complementary to one another. Can you tell us about your day to day routine?

    • You know, people ask me all the time - they go “oh, I think I’m gonna do AirBNB.” And I always tell them “You know, it’s like a full time job.” I have 2 - one behind my house is AirBNB only, the other one is not, and it’s a full apartment - and it’s on the AirBNB+ program. And I feel to be a Superhost that it’s my job to also be a Concierge. So I always try to meet my guests in both locations, if I can. Minimally, if I can’t at the other location, or we can’t quite coordinate our times, I call ‘em up, I email. My deal is, it’s my job to make sure you know Austin. It’s my job to tell you places that are good to eat. I consider it all my job. I have guest pages, where people have suggested places to go, things to do, restaurants, I have suggestions. The first thing I say when I go back there is “have you been to Austin before? Do you know where you wanna go, what you wanna eat?” And writing reviews is time-consuming, you have to write reviews of your guests, and then you have to coordinate the cleaning of each place. So you’re responding to requests, you’re managing your calendar - for example, today, there’s a special event where you usually get a little more money for your space in October, and I forgot to adjust it, and somebody booked it, so I had to go and adjust the other one. You have to keep an eye on your calendar and make adjustments based on time periods. AirBNB is exceptionally good at the bookkeeping aspect of it. We have to pay hotel taxes. So I don’t think you go into it as a casual endeavor. It isn’t! If you’re gonna be a Superhost, you have to be fully engaged, and it takes time. 

    • For those who aren’t familiar with art cars, where would you recommend they begin (besides checking out “Mermania” parked in your driveway)?

    • Well, there’s a Houston Art Car club. I think it’s a good place to look at cars. The Art Car parade is in April every year, we do what’s called a “Main Street drag,” the Thursday before the Saturday parade, and we go to places like schools or senior living facilities, recently we went to the Lighthouse for the Blind, where they were feeling our cars, tactile experiencing them, and then we visited another location for the physically challenged, and it made them so happy, and us so happy. We just try to bring joy on the road! There are Art Car parades in quite a few cities.

    • Oh, that’s a good question. Well, I have many collections in my house. And not to stand out for any particular reason except I like to collect salt and pepper shakers, I’ve collected matches since the 1970’s when they gave them out, I have a Rolling Stones collection, I have a tiny shoes collection - little miniature shoes. If you come to the house, you may never even notice it! People who come to my house say they could look at it forever and not see everything! I like color a LOT. I think at last count there were at least 29 colors of paint in my house. I have a big mural on the back fence of my house. I have a driveway that looks like the ocean. The breezeway is also kind of a blue ocean color, and if you continue back, that continues onto the patio area.

    • We have a lot of murals. We have, I personally am not real impressed with our art museums, because I travel the world to look at art, and we’re a new city so we don’t have the same kind of collections as the Chicago Art Institute or the museums in New York, but we have a lot of green space, a trail that goes all around the lake in the middle of the city, and we have a lot of really pretty nature-things to do outside. We have a really good nature museum, and the LBJ library is here, and they always have a good exhibit. We’re known as the Music Capital of the World, so you can’t forget that part! I can’t keep up with the restaurants. I have a book in my AirBNB space with restaurants, and I always have to tell my guests they come and go on a daily basis, so I can’t keep up, but there are some standards that have been here forever and they aren’t going anywhere. Like Magnolia Cafe. There’s 2 of ‘em. They’re 24 hour diners. I think it was Diners, Dive-Ins and Drives? It was on TV. They have really good omelettes and gingerbread pancakes. And Maria’s Tacos is still there! And Torchy's started here, and now they're going everywhere.

    • Well, I’m an intuitive. And I went to somebody who used to do intuitive readings, and she said “You can do this.” She said to come by on Sundays, and I went for a year, until I got in touch with my intuition, until I could start helping people with it. And then I practiced on everybody I could practice on. And in January of 1994, I moved in my house in October of 1993, and in January somebody offered me money for doing a reading. And that same week, somebody else, who came from somebody completely different, did the same thing. I never ever thought I was going to do it for my living, but the universe had something else in mind! So I teach intuition classes, I have relationships support groups, and now I start writing dating profiles for people - I keep seeing people struggling to get in relationships. It’s a real struggle for everyone. It used to be much easier to meet people, because they were out and about, but now everybody is in front of their computers… there’s no guarantee of meeting someone in the grocery section of Whole Foods. So what really happened to cause me to decide to do that is I had a client who wanted to get married and have kids, and she said she had her profile online, she was doing online dating, and I said “Well, did you tell them you wanted to get married and have kids?” And she said “No, I usually wait until the second or third date” and I said “Well, why would do that? You should tell ‘em right upfront, so you’re not wasting your time going out with somebody that doesn’t want the same thing you do.” So that’s when my own intuition kicked in. For me, I realized I needed to help people with that. I started to do some public speaking on relationships, why we pick who we pick, online dating, and then people have questions, and I really like that, because I haven’t found a question I haven’t been able to answer when it comes to relationships. Seems to be my speciality! And the people whom I help write profiles - I help give them guidance - the first line is always be REALLY clear about what they want, and it’s shockingly successful. Some serious relationships have come from that! And it’s funny, because my intuition does play into it, FOR SURE. It’s not really the format at all. I catch things that people wouldn’t catch if they weren’t intuitive. It’s been surprising to me how easy it is for me to catch things, to say “no, don’t put that in there, that’s not what you want.” I had one woman who wrote that she wanted a man to open a door for her, that she liked manners. And something about that didn’t hit me right, so I said “We need to talk about that, you need to leave that out.” She said “it’s important to me.” And I said “Have you been married before?” And she said “Yes, three times.” And I said “Were they narcissists”? And she said “How did you know that!” And I said “Because you said you wanted them to have manners. There’s no narcissist that doesn’t have manners. That’s why they are charming. Do you want another narcissist?” And she said “No.” And then I said “Well, you have to leave that out. Can you give up the manners for someone who’s not a narcissist?”

      Another time I had a client who was really beautiful, just naturally stunning. And I said “Do you want to be picked for what you look like?” And she said “No.” And then I said “Well, I want you to take the worst photo of yourself and that’s what we’ll post.” So she sent me a couple of photos of her with no makeup and messy hair, waking up first thing in the morning, and of course she was still gorgeous, she went from a 10 to an 8.5, but I said that’s the only one we’re using. 

      There are some things that are very standard suggestions across the board, but the best is intuitive, we really work together to make sure that it says EXACTLY the right thing to get ‘em the right person. I always say “You don’t need to date 100 people, you only need 1 or 2 responses if we did this thing right.” It makes it less painful. 

    • Oh! Good towels. REALLY good towels. You know, it’s funny, I’m trying to think more about what I like when I go somewhere… so I have 2 completely different experiences that I offer people. The one that’s a complete apartment, I cook. And I have been to so many vacation rentals myself that just lack things that I need when I cook, like a strainer, or a peeler, or you know how people always think about coffee - coffee goes without saying. But you have to have a good knife to cut, a cutting board. I’ve been to so many AirBNbs, one time we were making a salad in one, and I had to make it in a spaghetti cooking pot! Why would you have 2 coffee mugs when you let 4 people stay there? So when you go into that apartment, my apartment, it has everything you need. If you want to make a big pot of soup, frying something, I have all of that. So I think if you say you have a kitchen, you need to EQUIP the kitchen. You need to have a grater. People need a corkscrew. 

      Contrast that with the building behind my house, which doesn’t pretend to be anything besides having coffee and water, I also have a little mini fridge, and there’s no pretense of having a kitchen. But if they stay in my house, they get ambiance. 

    • ALWAYS. No matter what, hire a professional photographer. Always. I am a photographer, but I do things out in nature, when we travel, and we don’t alter our photos. We’re not into photoshop, I like to remember places as I saw ‘em. But I know how to take photographs, we sell some of our photographs. There’s no way I’m a photographer for architectures or interiors. And at AirBNB, they won’t allow photographers to use a flash. Their professional photographers are not supposed to photoshop their photos. I’ve taken some pretty good photos, but I’ve never been able to match what the professionals have done. I’m telling you, good photos are worth the price, because you’ll get more than that when people come. And the photos have to match what you have to offer. And the AirBNB professional photographers know how to do it. It’s very little money to spend compared to what you end up making.  I think if you ask around to anybody, it seems like there's many, many photographers that do vacation rental photos, they aren't hard to find.

    • Haha I don’t know! I think enthusiasm, don’t you? If they’re really excited and want to share, then they do it. I have a lot of reviews because it’s such a unique space, both my spaces are unique. But if there’s nothing special, a lot of people won’t leave reviews. 

    • I stay in rooms in other people’s houses! I wouldn’t be able to do that in my house, it would not be comfortable for me, but when we travel, we go with the cheapest thing we can find. We did upstate New York, a road trip, 1400 miles, and we didn’t book anything until 5 or 6 pm at night, at dinner. We would bring in our ipad, and my phone, and we would be on both of ‘em looking for anything near us. We’d pick the cheapest thing always, and in upstate New York, especially as it’s not a densely populated place, they were empty nesters who’d had children, so they had 3-4 bedroom houses, renting out one of the rooms. And I stayed friends with one of those women we stayed with. It’s GREAT for people that have extra space! And I liked it. I had a friend here who just needed money to pay his mortgage, and that’s what he did. It’s less expensive, and you have to be willing to engage. If you’re not somebody that engages, it changes the entire experience. It takes a certain special personality to do that. 

    • Oh! That’s funny. On AirBNB+ they assign you a designer, you send ‘em photos and they send you suggestions. I went through hell and back on that, because I had to convince her that color was ok and it didn’t diminish the property. I finally ended up winning most of those battles. But over here, I had all my freedom, and I just happened to be really good with color, obviously, 29 colors here, so I think the best thing I can say is people LOVE color. THere’s some people who need neutrals all the time, but that’s not your guest. Most people have neutrals, but LOVE color, so it takes ‘em to a whole ‘nother place when they stay at either one of my places.

    • Haha! I don’t know. I am sure that the more exposure you have, better for you. All the way around.

    • The worst one, oh my gosh. So this is the deal: I think I’ve had about 700 stays in the building behind my house. And maybe 2% of them were not positive experiences for me. On the ones that were bad, there were some that were slightly worse than others, during Austin City Limits one year I left town, but I was here for one night when they were here, and when I left, they had a party. And so they did it 2 nights in a row, and finally my neighbor called the police, and she said she wanted to make sure to protect my property. It was a disaster. Inside there were beer tabs, stuff everywhere, I called AirBNB and they were incredibly supportive, and charged the guest extra money for the cleaning. And they paid it. 

      My best ones are the guests you like so much you just wanna be friends with them forever! You like them as human beings, and you learn something from ‘em. 

    • Well, the theme in Austin is “Keep Austin Weird.” And my house is considered weird. It’s on the Weird Homes Tour. So people that stay here believe it’s the true Austin experience.

    • As an intuitive healer and consultant, you bring a true sense of service to what you do. How can people work with you, or reach out if they’d like to learn more?