Sharing her 16-foot Life InTents bell tent gives this host a chance to provide guests with 'a safe escape' to peacefully enjoy a natural landscape.
Disclosure: Life inTents is an Airbnb partner, so when you create a listing and host on Airbnb through our partner link, we receive a percentage in earnings. Then, Life inTents donates 100% of Airbnb partner earnings to the National Coalition for the Homeless, because everyone should have a roof over their heads. Ready to become a tent host on Airbnb? Get started here!
Did you know that our bell tents are ideal for hosting on Airbnb?
Meet glamping Superhost Rachel, who, with a little help from her friends, decided to start hosting a tent stay on her family’s riverfront property in Georgia amid the pandemic this fall. The goal? Provide a "safe escape" for guests to peacefully enjoy the natural landscape while earning a hosting income.
Rachel and her husband, Jon, had recently bought a two-acre field overlooking the picturesque Ocmulgee River, when she was asked to host a riverfront sleepover to celebrate her niece’s 13th birthday.
The property, located in a conservation easement with development restrictions, came with a tall, rustic pavilion featuring an outdoor fireplace, propane- and electricity-powered kitchenette, dining area, bathroom, alfresco shower—even wifi and streaming TV. It also came with a fire pit overlooking large Ocmulgee shoals popular among locals for recreational floating and kayaking.
The field and pavilion—surrounded by woodland and rich wildlife, including turtles, birds, and fish—had previously been used for events like yoga retreats, river float parties, and family oyster roasts, Rachel says. But to pull off a comfortable slumber party that took advantage of the “constant sound of the river,” she would need to add a proper sleep shelter.
Rachel rented a “gorgeous” bell tent from Life inTents, and outfitted it with mattresses, rugs, lanterns, and pillows. The party was a hit, and it got Rachel and Jon thinking about how they might share their riverfront haven over the long run.
Amid the pandemic, Rachel reasoned, people yearned for a way to safely enjoy nature together, and there wasn’t another glamping option in the area. Their property, tucked away but just five minutes from town, felt perfect. “We saw a need and genuinely wanted to share the beauty,” she says.
Rachel reached out to Life inTents to buy the 16-foot bell tent she’d rented. She added power outlets and a space heater to it, and furnished the pavilion with binoculars, games, firewood, and charcoal for grilling. Then she asked her friends Taylor and Thomas whether they’d help her host the new riverside glamping site on Airbnb.
Taylor and Thomas were already Airbnb Superhosts. The couple owns or manages an eclectic mix of unique listings in nearby Macon, a town at a cross section of interstate highways southeast of Atlanta. Macon attracts road trippers in part because its historical architecture (and rich history in the arts, including music) has “not burned to the ground,” says Thomas, whose father has served as Macon’s mayor for the past 13 years.
Rather than tear down and build anew, Thomas and Taylor are big believers in conserving, restoring, and highlighting a building’s existing character. “We like the historical beauty of things,” Thomas says.
At the time, Taylor and Thomas’ hosting business—which they started after moving out of a cabin they lived in while building their main house—was growing faster than the nurse and insurance executive could smoothly manage. Some of their properties were booked 25 days a month, with guests returning to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays. They were also fielding a steady stream of phone calls from local businesses and real-estate brokers about properties to potentially rehabilitate and list.
They saw a natural partnership with Rachel and Jon, who respectively have expertise in marketing and finance.
“We were getting a little overwhelmed, and kind of running out of time before we needed to hire somebody,” Thomas recalls. He and Jon had been friends since playing together in a youth group band, and the two couples figured that they could “help each other out—kind of take some pressure off.”
The collaboration is strong and getting stronger, they say. “We all bring something very different to the table, and we all work together really well and are excited to keep bringing on more locations and growing,” Taylor says. “We all have a lot of pride in the city, and it's fun to get to share it with so many people.”
The biggest surprise about hosting, Thomas says, is the connections they have made not only with their guests but with their community. They support local craftsmen and businesses by displaying studio art for sale, providing guests with private-label coffee blends and soaps they’ve helped develop, and making guest recommendations via their guidebook, Airbnb app messages, and socially distanced check-ins.
“You know Southern hospitality,” Thomas jokes. “We always like to check on folks and make sure they're all taken care of.” And it’s really cool, he says, to later see a guest review saying “they had the best weekend ever, and ate at the best restaurant ever, and went to the Allman Brothers Band Museum, and just loved the space.”
Taylor and Thomas are preparing a second property belonging to Rachel’s family—a cottage in a Macon historical district—to list on Airbnb. And Rachel and Jon are considering building a permanent platform for their tent and even building a cabin on the riverfront property.
The glamping site, which has been consistently booked since October and has garnered interest as a venue for weddings and retreats, is attracting reviews like this one, from Elise: “The location is absolutely perfect, and the view is spectacular! There are more amenities than I expected, and kind touches like fall decorations, a personalized note, and waters in the refrigerator. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay!”
Hearing positive feedback like that “is always a thrill,” Rachel says. “You prepare and plan for details to make someone’s experience special, and when you hear that they appreciated it, it means the world!”
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Life inTents is an Airbnb partner, so when you create a listing and host on Airbnb through our partner link, we receive a percentage in earnings. Then, Life inTents donates 100% of Airbnb partner earnings to the National Coalition for the Homeless, because everyone should have a roof over their heads.