The Host HQ is a Chicago-based independent media outlet to help Airbnb hosts navigate rules and taxes, learn from each other, and optimize their business. Visit us at thehosthq.com and follow us on Medium to see what we’re doing behind the scenes.
An experiment launched by seven entrepreneurial students at Northwestern University, the HostHQ is my ten-week stint in the world of innovative content publishing. Started from a simple sketch of an independent webzine, we zeroed in on a user-centered media startup that applies design thinking every step of the way. All of us took interest in the intersection of business and technology so the sharing economy became a natural focal point. We created a hub with editorial content, product listings and an E-newsletter to serve the need of Chicago Airbnb hosts.
As a reporter on the small but mighty content team, I compiled an exhaustive list of sources and story ideas in line with our editorial vision. We spoke with local hosts, guests, neighborhood activists, small business owners and lawmakers alike to navigate the murky space that is short-term vacation rental in a major city. Almost half of our work was introspective – we constantly look back on past victories and mistakes to optimize future decision-making.
Joining this team was a faithful leap that I’m very glad I took. The ten weeks taught me design thinking, user engagement, SEO best practices and content strategy, all of which will be immensely beneficial for my future career. Working in a scrappy startup environment also turned me into a stronger team player. Although the project had an expiration date, the lessons learned will stay with all of us.
Enough with my sentimental blurb. I’ll let the HostHQ speak for itself.