HONOLULU (KHON2) — Would you sleep in a boot? A giant potato? A flying saucer? What else should join this list? Airbnb is announcing a $10 million OMG! Fund that will finance 100 of the craziest and most unique property ideas. The fund is meant to empower anyone to build their extraordinary idea and share it with travelers everywhere. For 100 people, their idea will be turned into an actual Airbnb listing.
Kristie Wolfe, one of the members of the judging panel of the OMG! Fund, knows a thing or two about unique properties. She’s the Host of the most wish-listed stay in Hawaii.
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The 39-year-old Host is originally from Idaho but only spends about a third of the year there. The rest of the time she dedicates to building unique Airbnb experiences in different parts of the United States. Wolfe started hosting eight years ago and will be finishing up her sixth property in the summer.
Her treehouse listing in Hawaii — called “Dreamy Tropical Tree House” — was the first that she built. The treehouse is the most wish-listed stay in Hawaii, and the schedule to book it is already filled for the year. Wolfe recommends reserving about six months in advance.
“I didn’t know if the treehouse would be a successful Airbnb, but I figured worst case sensation, if not, I had a great vacation home for my friends and family in Hawaii,” said Wolfe.
When the pandemic it, Wolfe said it was scary for a few weeks. She never imagined a world where people wouldn’t be able to travel.
“Because my units are in really remote places and in different states, they became good places for people to have safe staycations, and that got me through the pandemic,” said Wolfe. “Hawaii, we had a shutdown completely for about two years due to the restrictions, but my others were able to pick up the slack.
Besides the treehouse in Hawaii, Wolfe has an underground Hobbit Hole property in Washington, a fire lookout in Idaho and a 6-ton potato in Boise. Yes, you read that right. Click here to see her potato hotel.
“I just finished a cocoon cottage on the Oregon coast and will complete a shipwreck house this summer,” Wolfe said.
She’s excited to see the ideas other people come up with for the OMG! Fund and admits some will probably make her a little jealous.
“I love the feeling of seeing people’s originality and when an idea is so good but I know I never would’ve come up with it!” she said. “With my experience of working with so many different types of construction and in different environments, I also want to see a solid plan of how they’re going to actually execute things.”
Here’s how to apply:
- Starting Wednesday, June 22, eligible applicants can click here to apply by submitting their crazy idea, what makes it unique and the inspiration behind it.
- Recipients will be selected by these judges: centenarian style icon Iris Apfel, Airbnb Superhost and creator of OMG! Listings Kristie Wolfe, founder of Koichi Takada Architects Koichi Takada and Airbnb’s VP of Experiential Creative Product Bruce Vaughn.
- Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET July 22.
- The 100 best ideas will be selected by the panel of judges and announced this fall.
Last year, Hosts with unique properties in Hawaii earned more than $8 million on Airbnb, an increase of more than 20% in 2019. A typical Host in the U.S. earned over $13,800, an increase of 85% over 2019. Additionally, nights booked at unique properties increased globally by over 49% from 2019 to 2021.
“I’ve been building Airbnb experiences full-time for about eight years now,” said Wolfe. “I don’t come from money, and banks aren’t really about to give me money for a potato hotel, for instance. I slowly built my business off the success of one rental and then would roll that profit to my next build and so on.”
To follow Wolfe’s journey, click here.