Ever been to an Airbnb and thought 'wow, how did this beautiful place come to be?' There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to hosting a stay, so we decided to sit down with Emily to chat about her personal journey in bringing Alkira Eco Glamping Retreat to life! The inspiration behind her unique yurt, an insight into every day life and what her plans are for the future.
We truly believe that all businesses start with a pretty great story, so what first inspired you to create Alkira Eco Glamping Retreat?
I have a love for travelling and finding unique places to stay! Why stay in a boring hotel room when you could try something truely unique for the very first time! My family owns 40 acres in the Dandenong ranges and it seemed unfair not to share it with the rest of the world... it was my turn to create something "DIFFERENT".
How has the journey of being a host been for you? We would love to share a little insight into your day to day life and running a successful Airbnb.
Where do I start.... I actually have two job's currently so my life can be a little all over the place sometimes. If it is not cleaning, washing, vacuuming or replying to all sorts of different questions on Airbnb you will find me at my Computer still working for Apple after 17 years! Every day I have washing and a lot of it, I need to be on the ball, always planning ahead. When do I blow the leaves? When have we got an opening and sunny day to mow the lawns? What stock do I need to order, who needs me to send them check in details. You really need to be organised and enjoy having lists and always being ahead of the game!
You are currently number 2 in Airbnb's most wish listed place to stay. Firstly, a big congratulations on this and secondly how does this make you feel?
Thank you very much! I am very grateful as there are millions of beautiful places out there to stay so I am very lucky that people want to come and stay with us here at Alkira. It makes me so happy to see so many people creating such beautiful, unique places....
What do you love most about business and what could you definitely say goodbye to?
The thing I love the MOST is the reviews people leave in the book or on Airbnb! This is what makes all the hard work worth it... In my 17 years of working for Apple I have never ever received the love that I have from Alkira... not even CLOSE! Most people in business concentrate on the things you do incorrectly instead of all the amazing things you get right! This job is so rewarding as people are so appreciative of how much work you have put in!!! One thing I would like to say goodbye to is the endless amount of washing and I would also love someone to look after my social media, that is a HUGE job!
You've recently branched out and added The Stables for your guests. Tell us a little bit about this and what future guests can expect when visiting.
The stables is situated at one of the best spots on the property - the view is to die for! It is nice and flat out the front of the stables and there is just an amazing feel about it when you are down there.. it would have been a waste not to do SOMETHING with it! This will only be a summer experience as it does get very cold in the Dandenong's. So the "Stables" experience is about to close until the end of the year! It is truely a magical spot and when more people find out about it I am sure it will be booked out just as much as Alkira! There is no better spot to sit out the front with the fire going and watch the sun set....
We can only imagine how much goes on behind the scenes, how have you learnt to balance business with life?
YES!! We finally have a good system going, some AMAZING helpers who are like my family which I trust Alkira with my life - I could not survive without them! They have also contributed to a lot of the stables design and creation! I honestly would be lost without them and couldn't do this on my own.
We love how you collaborate and support so many local businesses. For anyone visiting the beautiful area of Emerald what are your recommendations?
Oh where do I start... SO many places to go and see! I love food and LOVE eating breakfast at The General Food Store, I love spaghetti so Bam Bam's Italian is a must! Oh and pizza at the Station House in Gembrook is amazing! I spend a lot of time in summer at the beer garden in Emerald at the Paradise Valley Hotel - I walk around Emerald lake most nights! I dream about going on Puffing Billy as a child again.... and SCONES.... the best scones are at Olinda Tea House - the best!!!! They do an amazing high tea there also... I could go on and on - I am always happy to help my guests out with recommendations - ideas, proposals etc
When you're not busy running your business what do you love to do most?
HOLIDAYS!!!!!! As I said at the start I LOVE travelling - and I feel like life is all about balance! Work hard - play hard!! And that is exactly what I do - you only have one LIFE and one chance to explore this amazing world so I make sure that I do my very best to explore as much as I can when I can. I don't believe in waiting until you retire to travel because tomorrow is never guaranteed to ANYONE so we need to make the most of our life NOW!!!
Do you have any advice for others who may be thinking about hosting a stay? What is one of the most valuable lessons you have learnt on your journey?
I literally started from scratch not knowing ANYTHING and I still do not know everything! I think it is very important to be UNIQUE because if you do the same as everyone else what sets you out above the rest? What can you bring to the table that no one else can? And I love all the amazing liked minded people you meet along the way!!!
Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and give us a glimpse into your world. We are so incredibly grateful for the support you have shown Drawn with Light over the years and can't wait to pop back for a visit one day.
We absolutely adore you guys! Your passion for life, travel and trying new things! You are always so positive and are happy to give anything a go - you both have so much talent and you inspire so many people - thank you for always supporting my business - so happy we crossed paths!