- 11-room “bubble” hotel
- First listed on Airbnb: 2017
- Key benefit: Airbnb’s simplicity allows owners to run hotel remotely
- Other benefit: Airbnb’s Smart Pricing tool helped boost occupancy rates
Campera “bubble” hotel opened in 2017, after husband-and-wife Ignacio and Alejandra, who run an architectural-and design firm in Mexico, spotted a business opportunity in their own backyard. Their family owned 60 acres in Valle De Guadalupe, known as Mexico’s Napa Valley, just 90 miles south of San Diego. While tourists had begun flooding the area, there were few places for them to stay. The couple decided to fill the void with something fun and creative.
They erected three clear, climate-controlled bubbles, each capable of holding a double bed and a bathroom, in the midst of their family vineyard; they had the makings of a glamping business. But when it came to filling those bubbles with guests, Alejandra says they had “no idea” how to do it.
“I cannot imagine my hotel with any other platform.”
Alejandra, Owner, Campera Bubble Hotel
That’s when a consultant, who had handled social media for five-star hotels in Mexico and France and who they had hired to blast out pictures of the bubbles on social media, raved about Airbnb. Ignacio and Alejandra tried it, and they’ve never had a reason to second guess their choice.
The couple has since grown the thriving Campera from three to 11 bubble suites, all managed and available for booking exclusively on Airbnb. That’s because its reach and simplicity have made it a breeze to run what is essentially a side business. “I cannot imagine my hotel with any other platform,” she says. “Just the fact that it is so simple,” says Alejandra. “They simplify my life.”
Running a hotel as a second business presents challenges, especially for hosts like Alejandra and Ignacio, whose primary business is 90 miles away, in the coastal town of Ensenada. But Airbnb’s easy-to-use platform for booking, money transfers, room blocks, and handling of cancellations, gives the couple a built-in back office. What’s more, they work directly on the platform, which has saved them from having to invest in third-party management software. “Airbnb is my greatest tool because the client contacts Airbnb and Airbnb does everything,” says Alejandra.
The couple’s bubble hotel offers a futuristic spin on the traditional glamping safari tent. The spheres allow visitors to view “500 million stars” in the rural night-sky from the comfort of a bed, safe from the bugs and while sipping local wine. Guests are often lured by the beautiful top-of-page photos on Airbnb. Many are weekenders from Southern California or other parts of Mexico looking for a romantic getaway. The bubbles are packed on Valentine’s Day and for wedding parties.
Airbnb’s Smart Pricing Tool has also helped business. When the Smart Pricing tool which Alejandra has enabled, suggests a price drop, Alejandra usually listens, and the results speak for themselves. Campera’s business has been on a trajectory of steady growth. “At first, high season was from spring until early autumn, and then everything died in winter,” says Alejandra. “But now, autumn and winter is really fully booked as well.”
The couple says Airbnb reviews also allow them to fine-tune their service from a distance. “I can use them to help my staff,” says Alejandra. “I’m like, ‘Okay, this guy said they didn’t get hot water. What’s going on?’ Or, ‘This guy said it was not a hundred percent clean. What’s happening?’ So the reviews are a good tool.”
Alejandra says hosting has humbled her. “I know the hard work it is to please people,” she says. She’s also grateful to be running what has turned into a successful and creative side business. “It’s thriving,” she says. “Airbnb, is an amazing partner for us. I’m grateful the platform is there. I’m always telling people, ‘Be a host. It’s amazing. Just do it.’”
Want to learn more?
Click here to learn about professional hosting with Airbnb.