YesSurely you’ve seen the TV ad. Accompanied by “Time Warp” by The Rocky Horror Picture Show, family photos sparkle from a spaceship glamping getaway. The 30-second ad shines a ray on Airbnb’s OMG! category, a hunting ground for some of the most unusual and popular listings on the booking platform.
More than 30,000 unique listings across the world were added to Airbnb in 2021, yet tThe demand for crazy living spaces is so insatiable that the company wants to foot the bill to build more. Airbnb creates a $10 million OMG! Funds to reward 100 participants with $100,000 so they can turn their wacky ideas into real revenue streams.
From now until July 22, Airbnb is accepting submissions, which will be judged for originality, feasibility, sustainability, and the experience the space will provide for guests. The expert judging panel includes style icon Iris Apfel, architect Koichi Takada, Airbnb Superhost Kristie Wolfe and Airbnb Vice President of Creative Experiential Products Bruce Vaughn.
For winners, there are only two requirements. Upon completion of their projects, fund recipients must rent the new space on Airbnb and cannot list the property on competing short-term rental platforms for a year.
Airbnb says the typical host in the US earned over $13,800 in 2021, an 85% increase from 2019. Nights booked at unique properties worthy of OMG! increased by more than 49% during the same period.
Many Airbnb hosts have found that a creative conversion — spaceship, railroad car, grain silo, boxcar, glass bubble — can turn into a buzzing side hustle. The crazier the idea, the deeper the commitment to the theme, the better.
Rented for $289 a night in Joshua Tree, Calif., the spaceship’s tiny home blends in with the UFO vibe, complete with a ladder and a pop-up bubble window. “Totally unique,” writes the reviewer. “The place is out of this world,” said another.
No idea is too original for Airbnb entrepreneurs. Consider the surprising success of Kristie Wolfe, who spent $32,000 to turn a six-ton spud prop salvaged from the Idaho Potato Commission into Boise’s Big Idaho Potato Hotel, one of the most most famous from Airbnb. Since 2019, Wolfe has earned over $208,000, which has seen him work his way up to four more Airbnb properties in the OMG! Category.
There are many examples of successful Airbnb entrepreneurs around the world. New Zealand couple Keith and Jen spent $14,000 converting an old grain silo into the Yellow Submarine. The extra income helps them retire comfortably. In Portugal, Ricardo spent over $36,000 transforming a retro double-decker bus into a superbly outfitted two-level mini-house. His Airbnb ad was so successful that he bought a second bus.
Last month, Airbnb unveiled what it called “Airbnb’s biggest change in a decade.” The platform’s search tool now encourages travelers to explore by category, where listings are grouped by a particular feature (grand piano, chef’s kitchen, stunning views) or interest (golf, camping, skiing, surfing, story).
Without a doubt, the biggest surprises are reserved for the OMG! category, where intrepid travelers can unearth unique finds like Wolfe’s six-ton potato.