Airbnb saved me from bankruptcy, says actor-filmmaker Dany Papineau

Montreal-based Dany Papineau was making a film in Whistler two years ago when "things didn't go as planned," and he prepared to sell his home to pay off debts. But then he found out about Airbnb.

Dany Papineau was about to sell his home to pay off debts when he decided to become an Airbnb host

Dany Papineau, an actor-filmmaker, lists his home in Austin, Que., on Airbnb. He also lists three other properties and offers an online course on how to be a successful Airbnb host. (Dany Papineau)

An actor-filmmaker who had been on the verge of bankruptcy says being a vacation rental host changed his life.

Montreal-based Dany Papineau was making a film in Whistler two years ago when "things didn't go as planned," and he prepared to sell his home in Montreal to pay off debts. But then he found out about Airbnb — the website that connects people who have space to spare with travellers looking for temporary digs — and decided to become a host.

"The day that I got my first guest is basically the first day that it started to generate a revenue from my home," he said in an interview with The Early Edition's Rick Cluff. "I've generated more than $200,000 on Airbnb in the last two years … it simply changed my life."

Papineau said being an Airbnb host allowed him to keep his home. He now travels frequently, lists four properties for rent on Airbnb, and has become so passionate about the website that he has created an online course called Airbnb Secrets to help others become successful hosts.

Here are a few tips that Papineau shared with The Early Edition.

Seize every opportunity

"If you want to go to Whistler for a weekend from Vancouver, you can rent your home in Vancouver. And then you rent an Airbnb in Whistler, so your home will pay for your trip while you're away."

It's all about trust

"Once people come stay at my place, they leave a comment on my page. Now I've got 300 comments of people that came to sleep at my place, so when someone looks at my profile, they're like, oh, this guy is very trustworthy, he's had so many guests coming on," he said.  "Same thing when someone comes sleep at my place, I leave a comment on their profile. That's how you build trust. The more you have guests at some point, the more it brings in business."

Know the risks

"I had some guests who pretended to rent my place for three people and then they threw a party for 30 people, which did $4,000 of damages to my home. Airbnb has insurance. Once you rent a place on this website, you're covered for up to $1 million in damages."

To hear the full interview with Dany Papineau, click on the audio labelled How to become a successful Airbnb host.

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