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I have been a AirBnB host for 4+ years where I have two dedicated rooms that I offer for short term rental. This is not a small side income any longer but rather a big income as I am occupied 90%+ of the year and have good reviews and managed to become a Superhost (AirBnB´s term for highly rated hosts).

I am now planning on applying a data related role at AirBnB and wonder if I should include this as a position in my CV or only in my cover letter?

If I would apply at any other company I would not include it because hospitality is not really related to data but in this case I can see the benefits having it listed to catch the eye of the recruiter to show that I am very dedicated to the company and know the company very well as a host.

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    I'd see it as a potential conflict of interest. As such, it is better to bring it up. Jul 2, 2023 at 7:19
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    Where I live, having a side hustle that takes any significant time and attention would require permission from my employer, so you might want to check if you have to clear this with your future place of work. Plus, what @SimonRichter said (and what should be an answer IMO). Jul 2, 2023 at 9:36
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    Any work-related non-disclosure appears as if you believe you are doing something wrong, even if you are not. With all work-related activity outside of your job specification, ensure you get written permission. This will be extremely useful to you if you ever find yourself in a tribunal, or court case.
    – Konchog
    Jul 2, 2023 at 22:59
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    @Flater where I'm from it's not very uncommon that a job contract really has something like "You are not allowed to have any other job PERIOD". And it does make sense, because the number of working hours heavily impacts the amount of rest and sleep you get which influences how well you perform at your job
    – Ivo
    Jul 3, 2023 at 6:56
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    @Flater While I agree that it shouldn't be that way, unfortunately in reality it often is the case that you need to at least disclose it. Not only to prevent conflicts of interest, but also because it might affect your taxes or other laws (for example laws that determine how many hours a person may work in a week).
    – Dnomyar96
    Jul 3, 2023 at 13:58

5 Answers 5

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Yes you should mention it in your cover letter to AirBnB.

Firstly, it will allow AirBnB to evaluate and manage a conflict of interest early on, potentially avoiding wasting everyone's time or potentially putting you ahead.

Assuming any conflict can be managed satisfactorily to both parties, I can tell you that having employees with direct knowledge of and interest in the business domain is a huge advantage. For example, I've worked mainly in capital markets and I can tell you that people who have share portfolios are significantly more valuable in many areas than those who have not. Typically the speed of understanding requirements, value add to product idea, anticipating potential problems, testing scenarios, general insight into use etc. is hugely beneficial.

Win/win for AirBnB in my opinion. For others, leave it out - commitment to the role at hand is likely to be more important.

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    When I was at a large corporation many aeons ago, all employees were bound by code-of-conduct rules which forbade most forms of outside employment, including self-employment, in ways that would make one a customer or supplier of that company unless such action was approved by a suitable level of management; the exact level of approval would depend upon the details of the conduct. The only scenario which did not require any level of approval was if one were a self-employed customer of products produced by other divisions. The scenario described here is...
    – supercat
    Jul 2, 2023 at 18:05
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    ...one that would have required a relatively high-level managerial sign-off which might or might not be granted. If management would require that the OP detach any affiliation with an operating BnB as a condition of employment and the OP would refuse to do so, it would be better for all concerned if AirBnB not waste any time considering the OP for the position.
    – supercat
    Jul 2, 2023 at 18:10
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    Just imagine, hypothetically, if a big Q&A site were to have employees at the top heavily involved as long-time users of the site. They might gain insight into what works, what doesn't work, what gets users and moderators upset. Just sayin' Jul 2, 2023 at 19:07
  • To @supercat 's point; consider that, i.e., Apple forbids ANY(?) employee from selling their own apps on the App Store, to avoid even an appearance of conflict of interest. It's possible that AirBnBhas an equivalent policy, either for similar reasons, or to avoid potential legal issues; what happens if you, as a host, get in a dispute with a renter? How is the dispute resolution dept supposed to handle that if you're also an employee! Better for all if you find out now, rather than AFTER you've quite your current job, show up forwork, and THEN get the non-compete etc. agreements. Jul 2, 2023 at 21:49
  • Interesting -- I thought most companies encourage employees to eat their own dogfood. @supercat
    – Barmar
    Jul 3, 2023 at 15:29
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If I were a hiring manager at AirBnB, my thoughts would probably be:

Pro:

  • Is already familiar with our business model
  • Knows our host-facing processes and probably also indirectly knows our guest-facing processes
  • Has an interest in the success of our company

Contra:

  • Potential for conflicts of interest when they are both our employee and our business partner.
  • Has a side-job that might take away attention from their primary employment at us.

But I am not actually a hiring manager at AirBnB, so I can't say if the pro or the contra arguments would weight more in their hiring process. But anyway, this will probably come up at some point during the hiring process, so it's a good idea to mention it early on.

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    just to potentially add to your list: a conflict of interest can also be regarding data protection: giving someone access to guest data they personally had and might have qualms with or other personal interests thus opening the door for privacy breaches (e.g. depending on access they could figure out the address of a hated guest or one they have sexual interest in, they could badmouth someone to other potential hosts or affect their communication and so on; obviously no one assumes OP would do such a thing but hypothetically that is an increased risk compared to someone not using the site). Jul 3, 2023 at 22:47
  • Ideally the company has policies in place to negate or limiting the contra points though to a level that is acceptable by them (e.g. time limits on how much time side jobs can take up etc) Jul 3, 2023 at 22:49
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I wonder if I should include this as a position in my CV or only in my cover letter?

Both for Airbnb. You ran a side business and are successful at it. That demonstrate that you do have a decent a amount of communication skills and can "get things done". That looks fine on any resume. Maybe not under "positions" but under "skills" or "experiences", depending on how your resume is structured.

I would definitely put it in the cover letter for Airbnb not not a different company. Being familiar and a heavy user is a non-trivial advantage over other candidates.

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There could be a potentially serious conflict of interest:

  • If hired, you could get access to proprietary data could give you some advantage over other AirB&B hosts.
  • Conversely, being a SuperHost with vested interest could incentivize you to emphasize or de-emphasize certain trends in the data based on the analyses you might conduct at work, that could either advantage or disadvantage your future rental prospects and hence lead you to act or react in ways you otherwise would not have.

We are not talking here about what is likely, but what is possible. Both of these are possible source of conflict of interest, so I would bring it up.

That said, I would not try to tout the benefits of your hosting history, as that could backfire in the recruiter's eyes for reasons mentioned. I would state it briefly without emphasis, and keep opinions of how that might affect your ability to perform your work to yourself, leaving judgment to the hiring manager and HR. Good luck!

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It can't hurt.

Whilst it may not be directly related to Data, your experience of being a highly rated host with a high occupancy rate will give you certain insights into how the data you are seeing in your role tracks with your first-hand experience.

It is unlikely to disadvantage you in anyway and putting aside the insight factor, just being a heavy user of the product can be a swaying factor when evaluating a candidate.

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    So, having access to other hosts data would not be an issue?
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 2, 2023 at 8:47
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    It could be a conflict of interest, but I can hardly imagine it being a problem, because you will probably not be the one making any decisions that would in any way benefit you. At best you could influence the decision makers, in which case it's nothing more than lobbying. Also, for all we know, all AirBnB developers and managers could have properties they rent themselves.
    – Chapz
    Jul 2, 2023 at 13:54
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    @Chapz It would be the equivalent of insider trading. Sure, you can't influence things, but you can take advantage of information that is unknown/unknowable to other hosts.
    – Peter M
    Jul 2, 2023 at 23:14

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