- Sandi Croft and her husband own small homes, tents and wagons that they rent on Airbnb.
- Their first tiny house caught the attention of HGTV and has been steadily growing ever since.
- Croft enjoys offering these unique living experiences at Sandy Valley Ranch in Nevada.
This so-called essay is based on a conversation with Sandy Croft, Airbnbs We told the host how she and her husband came to build and rent out a unique little home in Sandy Valley Ranch, Nevada. Edited for length and clarity.
Neither my husband nor I envisioned ourselves becoming an Airbnb host, but when he changed jobs, we were on our way. He now manages six of her Airbnbs in Sandy Valley Ranch, Nevada. So far we love it.
Seven years ago, my husband was laid off from Bally’s Corporation, which created graphics for slot machines. When he left, he really wanted to do something outside, and like many people do later in his life, he was reevaluating things. For him, it was an opportunity for a new chapter.
As a young man, he built homes in British Columbia and Canada. He liked it, so he said he wanted to build a small house.
My husband built the first tiny house. Hummingbird Tiny Housein the driveway of our house in Las Vegas
We were hanging out at Sandy Valley Ranch at the time, and Marilyn Gubler, the owner, said, ‘Would you like to bring a little house here? can be placed.”
We didn’t even know what Airbnb was, but we did. I researched, got the app, got all the information and posted it.
At the time, the only lodging she had on the ranch was a lovely covered wagon that someone in her family had built years ago. It went well. The ranch has its own cleaning staff to keep the property clean and set up self check-in.
We set our rates competitively with other glamping sites and so far it’s been going well. I tied it up and added it up at the end of the month. Airbnb made it easy. Accommodation he also posted on Vrbo, but most of the traffic comes from his Airbnb.
Never forget your first guest. They were two gentlemen traveling on motorcycles through California, Nevada, and Death Valley in Arizona. I remember we were taking pictures of them.
Immediately, HGTV contacted my husband
They saw someone posted a picture of Hummingbird House and reached out to him to see if he’d be interested in being featured.
After building my second tiny house on HGTV, I posted it on Airbnb. There was a small house movement going on, people were coming out to talk about homes, ranches were becoming more popular, and we were getting busier.
In the third year, we decided to install a teepee on the premises
My husband and I stay in teepees during our travels and love everything they look and feel especially when you are in the desert on our 160 acre ranch. We have since added another teepee and wagon. There are 6 of her lodgings added over 6 years. Earlier this year we also added a small bar with wheels.
We want to keep people from overlapping each other and at the same time place accommodation with septic tanks, water and electricity. People enjoy the outdoors, horseback riding, and cattle driving. The ranch also has a shooting range. Feel like a cowboy for a day.
Although it is a camp, people are allowed to use their mobile phones and take hot showers. I also learned how to keep warm in the winter with heaters and cool in the summer with air conditioners, fans and wetland coolers.
We do not have a restaurant, but we have a full-time kitchen staff, so if you make a reservation in advance, we can prepare the long-awaited dinner for you. Or, if you went on a two-hour horseback ride in the morning, come back and have breakfast.
it was an evolution with us
We learned a lot more about the community and how people crave experiences, not just hotels. People love having space (especially during a pandemic). They appreciate being able to go somewhere else and get outside of their 160 acres. People even had family reunions where they were able to maintain social distancing.
Lots of locals from Las Vegas 45 minutes away and lots of regulars who just want to get away. This experience was a game changer for her husband and me. This is the direction we were headed, creating these environments for our guests around the world and seeing them enjoy being in the desert, hearing coyotes and looking at the stars.
Initially I helped run Airbnb and also worked at Cirque du Soleil, but my position was dissolved during the pandemic. I still work with them on certain projects, but this is my full-time job. You can put more energy into marketing your properties and keeping them up to date.
I am often on the ranch. My husband is there at least her 5 days a week and I’m probably her 3 days, but we found an old Airstream called “Tin Lizzie” that we were renovating. Hopefully we can live there full time by the end of the year.
Recently sold the business to a ranch and can now focus on managing Airbnb
Agree with the ranch on a percentage of earnings per night and add it up at the end of the month. Airbnb makes it easy and great to work with. I also posted the accommodation on his Vrbo, but most of the traffic comes from his Airbnb.
The ranch also really enjoys the increased traffic. They get to share land with so many people around the world.