Hi Livia, could you tell me a bit about yourself and your connection with Edinburgh?
Hi! As a native of Italy, my friends back home often ask me why I’m so attached to Scotland, and to Edinburgh specifically. To be honest, when I first landed here on a rainy day - I literally never thought that I’d acclimatise to Scotland and its weather. It’s now been eight years – and I’m still here! I’ve completely fallen in love with the people, the architecture, the culture, the scenery and more. I’m now lucky enough to be an adopted Scot, and could never imagine a not having Edinburgh as a base.
I’m a bit of a weird one in terms of background, I spent my childhood in seven different countries as a diplomat’s daughter, came to Scotland for university. I have attended Glasgow University for my undergrad, and then St. Andrews University as a postgrad. I believe that spending so much of my life travelling has given me an insight into the tourism industry and what our Airbnb guests look for.
Finally, I’m an Airbnb host. My partner and I renovated a flat in central Edinburgh and now have it up on Airbnb – which is interesting as I get to see both perspectives; what it feels like for our clients and for the company.
What do you love about Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is such a special city – it’s a unique mix of the historical, cultural, and trendy. We’re lucky enough to be surrounded by spectral architecture, Georgian homes, and the imposing Castle.
I always think that Edinburgh has the benefits of a much larger city, but without the stress of actually being in a big city. As a foodie, one of the extraordinary things for a city of Edinburgh’s size is its array of incredible restaurants, from many Michelin starred restaurants to a selection of favourite hole-in-the-wall places. The myriad of choice extends out to Edinburgh’s cultural life, with museums and theatres being some of the best in the U.K.
On the other hand though, everything is still within walking distance, and people know each other and say hello on the street. Plus, within a twenty-minute drive, you’re in the middle of Scotland’s stunning countryside - I think that’s pretty special.
Why do People in Edinburgh need an Airbnb Management Company like Pass the Keys?
As much as Edinburgh needs Airbnb, many Airbnb hosts here have full time jobs or travel extensively, which is why sometimes, people are hesitant to start on a journey with Airbnb. Companies like ours are absolutely necessary to allow hosts to be hands off, allowing us to take care of their listing from start to finish.
I think we at Pass the Keys have been able to strike a good balance between making sure all our processes work with our amazing London based team, and getting local knowledge with people like myself. It leads to a collaborative approach whereby together we can figure out how to optimise both host and guest experience.
What excites you about Pass the Keys?
Pass the Keys is an ambitious young company, one with a huge potential for growth, especially here in Scotland. It’s a company that has grown extremely organically (which makes it unique in its industry), and is now getting enough momentum in Scotland for me to be a part of it too.
It’s a great experience to be able to have an input in local sales, marketing, and operations. It’s exciting also to know that what we have so far is just the beginning for Scotland, and we’ll hopefully keep growing.
Which goals do you want to achieve with Pass the Keys in Edinburgh?
There are a few things that both the team in London and myself want to achieve, which surrounds our client experience, guest experience, and growth of our portfolio in Edinburgh. We want to make sure that we deliver a seamless service with an in depth knowledge of our regions, which is why the role of City Manager is important. Further, we want to use this knowledge to grow in the areas of Edinburgh that we think have huge potential.
As I’ve mentioned, Edinburgh is a special city for Airbnb, and having a hands off service is incredibly useful for homeowners. The biggest obstacle I think, especially knowing the mentality in Edinburgh, is to gain the trust of the local community. That is something that we’re trying to do by providing a great service but also just reminding people that we’re present and local as well. This is definitely something that we want to achieve too.
Why would you describe Edinburgh as “the best city for Airbnb-Hosts”?
Airbnb is incredible as it allows travellers to truly experience a city first hand. They get to live like a local, in areas that they might not have experienced otherwise, at often much cheaper rates. One of the true benefits includes meeting some incredible people from all over the world, with the comfort that both parties have been reviewed on Airbnb’s platform. For Edinburgh in particular, this model fits perfectly into the life of the city.
Despite it being a capital city and a huge tourist destination, Edinburgh isn’t that big a place. This means that it attracts more tourists than the average city of its size, and that hotels don’t always cover the demand that the Edinburgh generates. This is why I believe that Edinburgh is an amazing city for Airbnb hosts.
Furthermore, many of Edinburgh properties are unique to the city. Whether they’re located in the old tenements or in Georgian houses, or even architecturally interesting modern builds in the city centre – all Edinburgh city centre flats have character to them, and it’s wonderful to let people from all over the world experience them too.
Is there any advice that you would give to anybody new to the Airbnb community, both hosts and guests?
As a host, I know starting the process and renting out your home can be an emotionally difficult process – but equally I think of it as something to take pride in. You’re giving your guests the opportunity to experience Edinburgh the way the locals do, rather than having your home sit empty.
For potential hosts, my advice would simply be: give it a try. Most people are worried about the amount of work that goes into running a property, and that’s where we can help. Just like anything else, Airbnb isn’t for everyone, but you’ll never know unless you’ve experienced it. It might actually end up being a really successful little business that you weren’t expecting.
For potential guests, I really think there’s no downside to Airbnb. My advice would just be to use it as a tool to explore the city both as a tourist and a resident by staying in a beautiful home. In Edinburgh, there aren’t many hotel rooms set in traditional Georgian buildings with spectacular views, but there are many flats on Airbnb with these features.