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Host with the Most: The Secrets of Airbnb’s Top Alaska Listing for 2022

by | Jan 29, 2023 | Featured, News, Tourism

air bnb

Airbnb’s top new listing in Alaska for 2022.

Kevin Dickerson

Touches of blue and gold in the décor evoke Alaska’s flag. Such attention to detail earned Kevin Dickerson recognition from Airbnb as its top first-year host in Alaska for 2022.

This Looks Like a Job for Superhost

The listing for “White Spruce House,” a two-story single-family home in Anchorage’s Jewel Lake neighborhood, touts its mountain views, high ceilings, spacious rooms, and crab apples growing in the backyard.

In his first year with the room booking service, Dickerson had around 75 percent occupancy, or more than ninety check-ins for up to 275 days. In addition to quantity, Dickerson’s hosting earned high ratings from his guests, awarding him “Superhost” status.

White Spruce House is Dickerson’s first and only Airbnb listing so far. He needs the home himself while splitting his time in Oakland, California. “I spend most of my year in California and come back to visit family and friends in Alaska,” he explains. “I was trying to figure out how to do that because in the summer everything’s booked and everything’s pretty much 100 percent occupancy because of the tourism that comes in.”

Airbnb makes that lifestyle possible. “For me, just having that space that is available in the White Spruce where I can invite my brother and my dad and my friends, too, and be in the same place—that’s hard without this option,” he says.

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Alaska Business September 2023 Cover

September 2023

When he was getting started in 2022, Airbnb made sure he was guided by a previous Superhost, who happened to be Dickerson’s lifelong friend, Rosey Robards. She is officially a co-host at White Spruce House. Her brother Jason Robards is employed as property manager, cleaning and maintaining the house, as he does for the rest of his family’s listings. Dickerson also credits Gladys and Natalie Robards with helping to elevate his listing to the top ranks.

According to Airbnb, all first-year hosts with single listings in Alaska earned a combined $13 million from January through September 2022. However, Dickerson says he’s not in it for the money.

“I work really hard to make sure that… it’s a neighborhood that I’m inviting them to,” he says of his guests, “that it’s not, I guess, exploitative.”

From his early jobs at cafés and restaurants, Dickerson learned the key to hospitality. “Treating people with respect and making sure they’re comfortable is really important because you have no idea what’s going on in their lives when you speak to them,” he says. “People are coming from all over the world, from different cultures, from different backgrounds. A little respect goes a long way.”

Like Family

air bnb

Very few hotel suites under $100 per night include a dining table.

Kevin Dickerson

Offering a house for short stays is different from the service a hotel provides for guests. “They could have a family dinner with eight people, if they want,” Dickerson says. “Some of the folks that I host are recovering from injuries; they’re taking trips back and forth [to the hospital] to get treatment. Things like that. So there’s a lot of different circumstances where an Airbnb makes a lot more sense than a hotel.”

Dickerson also uses Turo to rent his Anchorage car while he’s in California. As with Airbnb, the entire online booking economy created opportunities that old classified ads could never dream of, for both hosts and guests.

“There’s an alternative market that Airbnb’s created,” Dickerson says, “that lets people stay in places that are more familiar to what they’re used to—house, dining table, plates, forks, glasses—that you don’t have in a hotel.”

Airbnb lists more than 1,000 offerings comparable to White Spruce House within the Municipality of Anchorage for prices averaging $153 per night, mostly in the $90 to $100 range.

Alaska Business September 2023 cover
In This Issue
Alaska Native Special Section
September 2023
Alaska Native regional, village, and urban corporations are major economic drivers across the state, nation, and in worldwide markets. In this issue we cover many of this sector's recent activities, how leadership is mentoring a new generation, and how these corporations share the wealth with their shareholders, descendents, regions, and villages. Also in this issue we take a moment to explore what's happening in western and northern parts of the state: the AU-Aleutians project, tourism opportunities, retail realities, and more. Enjoy!
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