June 16, 2023
Meet Denisha Keaton, GenZ Airbnb host and corporate communications coordinator at Anywhere. Right on the heels of her two-year anniversary, Denisha brings her passion for effective communication and organizational skills to the Corporate Communications team.
As an integral member of the team, she assists with a wide range of tasks, including sending out the daily Real Estate FYI newsletter and crafting engaging articles about Employee Resource Group (ERG) events.
Denisha is not only a dedicated professional but also an avid entrepreneur and host of four Airbnb properties. She finds joy in connecting with people and providing them with exceptional travel experiences.
In addition to her hosting ventures, Denisha co-hosts the engaging podcast "Just Keep Keaton On." Alongside her co-host, she explores captivating topics and engages in thought-provoking conversations that encompass their journey through marriage and entrepreneurship.
When she's not occupied with her entrepreneurial pursuits, Denisha indulges in her love for culinary adventures. She enjoys recreating recipes from the Food Network and experimenting with new flavors and techniques in the kitchen. Furthermore, as a devoted basketball fan, Denisha can be found passionately watching games, analyzing player performances, and engaging in discussions about the latest sports news with fellow enthusiasts.
Q: How did you get started with your Airbnb?
A: The start of my Airbnb journey bloomed from a very costly mistake. My husband, then boyfriend, and I were in college prepping for our sophomore year. He played for the men’s basketball team and the season was quickly underway. He trusted me with getting our classes sorted and rent squared away when we received financing for school. Buzzing across campus and busy picking up our books, I forgot to check the box “yes” to receive financial assistance for the semester. One box made all the difference, weeks passed, and I quickly felt the impact of my forgetfulness and how unrelenting the school financial office can be.
We had a small one-bedroom apartment with an obscure lake view. The fixer in me quickly went to Google with a variety of search queries related to “quick ways to earn rent money”. Airbnb was the first result. After one class in Promotional Selling and some good advice from my professor, my first Airbnb was born - Tranquil River Home.
After graduating college, I moved into managing more properties for other owners. My attention to detail and creative pitching landed me about ten properties to manage. I convinced my family to join me in the madness. My mom became a real estate agent and helped me find the best hidden gems.
Q: What’s your favorite part about owning and operating an Airbnb property?
A: My favorite thing about owning and operating my Airbnb properties goes beyond the financial benefits. While creating generational wealth is certainly a rewarding aspect, it’s the opportunity to practice for my future HGTV special feature that truly excites me.
From selecting unique decor and furnishings that capture the essence of the location, to curating an inviting and comfortable space for guests, I find immense joy in transforming each property into a memorable and enchanting experience. Whether it's adding a personal touch through artwork, incorporating local elements that showcase the culture and heritage of the area, or finding innovative ways to maximize space and functionality, the process of curating the perfect ambiance is enough to keep me busy.
Q: What’s been your most interesting experience with Airbnb guests?
A: There was one incident where law enforcement was called, and the guest didn’t inform me. You can imagine my surprise checking my cameras to see blue lights flashing and officers surrounding the house.
The guest called 911 and requested police for a burglary in progress. The guest and her friend hid in the bathroom waiting for the police to arrive. They said the burglar was beating on the door trying to get inside. After several officers searched the house, they found it was a balloon that got caught in the ceiling fan in the middle of the night that caused the bumping.
Q: What have you learned from working at Anywhere that influences the way you manage your Airbnb?
A: As a former college athlete, strategy and reflection play a major role. With that, one of my favorite aspects of the Anywhere Winning Behaviors - Obsess About Growth - applies not only externally with the business, units, and guests but also internally as a host and entrepreneur. While I'm naturally introverted and find comfort in operating from the cupboard under the stairs, I embrace the discomfort of growth.
Owning Airbnb properties has provided me with the incredible opportunity to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Engaging with new guests and listening to their stories, all while enhancing their travel experiences brings me a deep sense of fulfillment.
Q: How do you see yourself expanding your real estate interest in the future?
A: I am particularly intrigued to explore the art of advertising listings and social media. While watching a wide variety of shows and Netflix series, I like gathering insights into the extensive process that goes into showcasing a property before it even hits the market.
From captivating photography that highlights the property's unique features to crafting compelling descriptions that capture the essence of the home, and even utilizing social media to create a sense of desire and excitement around each property.
Q: What would you say to your fellow GenZers who may be on the fence about investing in real estate?
A: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” – Nikki Giovanni
Owning and operating Airbnb properties allows me to combine my passion for design, hospitality, and creating lasting memories. It's a fulfilling endeavor that not only generates income but also brings a sense of accomplishment and joy as I continue to explore new avenues of creativity and strive to provide exceptional experiences.
For more photos of Denisha’s projects, please click here.