This week Mikel Freemon from Airbnb has been confirmed as one of the speakers for the first edition of Tourism Innovation Summit in Cap-Haitien, November 2018. Freemon is Territory Manager for Latin America at Airbnb, where she oversees strategy and execution of the company’s supply operations in the region. Prior to this role, Mikel developed markets such as the Caribbean, Cuba, and Central America for Airbnb and LivingSocial Escapes, and managed partnerships at other leading online travel and media companies. She has an Executive Certificate in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability from Columbia University. She has written about green travel for the Earth Institute and launched the ‘Earth-Friendly’ travel section at LivingSocial, to help 25 million members make more conscious purchasing decisions.
1- Please tell us a little bit about your background and why did you choose the hospitality industry?
My first job after college was advising student travelers in STA Travel’s study abroad department. After that, I managed partnerships and developed markets at leading online travel and media companies. In the early days, friends and I would spot a travel deal and jump on a plane or train. We once flew to Tokyo just for a weekend. Those backpacker days led to a lifelong love for travel — getting to know culture, language, and wildlife around the world. I believe travel can be a powerful force for good in the way it helps people from different parts of the world understand each other.
2- Airbnb is the fastest growing company in the travel industry, how does it feel to work for a company like that
It requires curiosity and flexibility. I used to think hyper growth companies had everything figured out. The truth is that we’re constantly looking for better ways of doing business and exploring how to execute. For example, in my second week, I asked a colleague if our $1 Million Guarantee covered the Caribbean. It didn’t at the time, but as a result of asking — months later, the program was expanded to cover every host worldwide.
3-What exactly do you do as part of the Airbnb, and how are you guys extending in the Caribbean Market?
I am the General Manager of the Caribbean and Central America and I oversee Airbnb’s supply operations in Latin America.
4-Give five reasons you think people in the Caribbean should join Airbnb?
- Meet people from around the world. I am happy to count a few Airbnb hosts among my closest friends.
- Get a local experience when you travel. Stay outside the touristic zones and get insider knowledge from your host.
- Earn supplemental income. Demand for Airbnb in the Caribbean continues to grow. Many hosts use earnings to expand their homes and businesses.
- Airbnb has your back. 24/7 support, payments transact securely through the platform, and you can read reviews about your guest/host before booking.
- If you don’t have the time to manage listings and in-person check-ins, you can find a co-host to help provide top hospitality.
5- Have you been in Haiti? if Yes which part and how was your experience?
Not yet, but I look forward to visiting in 2018