Meet the Travelling Doctor: Katrina Stranks

August 31, 2018

We love giving our hosts the opportunity and the freedom to travel the world, without worrying about what to do with their home. So this week, we introduce you to Katrina, a Melbourne-based host who came to Houst to manage her property when she decided to take a six week trip around Europe!

‘I knew I was going away for an extended period of time and it seemed like such an inefficient use of the space’ Katrina explains. ‘It seemed silly to me to have a house that is in such a perfect location go vacant for an extended period of time. I’m a doctor studying pediatrics and just finished my specialty exam. After a long period of study and intense work, it’s been a good 2 years leading up to these exams, we planned a holiday as something to look forward to. It’s sort of a celebration.’

As a seasoned Airbnb host when she’s there, Katrina goes above and beyond to ensure her guest feel right at home. ‘I love preparing a home, I really enjoy making sure everything looks pretty and researching what makes a house look more aesthetically pleasing. I really love the interior design aspect of that. I grew up in an old home, so that homeliness, the old wood floors and high ceilings, that is how I picture cosy, warm livable homes and I see that as more lavish than having a more modern home in a way. It’s been a real pleasure to unleash my more creative, artistic side.’

However, with a 6 week trip around Europe planned, the question arose about what to do with her home while she was away. As someone who makes every effort to create a unique, cosy experience for her guests, her main concern was whether or not Houst would be able to take care of her home and her guests in the same way.

‘I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I like things done properly. Houst appealed to me because I wasn’t going to be in Australia, so Houst was the perfect outsourcing of management. The first benefit would be it paying for my trip. But it would also help me enjoy my time more because I wouldn’t have to worry about things being properly done. I’m not an expert at Airbnb so it suited my personality. I have a bit of a box ticking personality and the fact that Houst knows all the boxes to tick makes me feel more comfortable going through the process.The knowledge that you clearly know what you're doing makes me feel really reassured that my house will be safe. Everything is taken seriously, safety, the screening of guests, the process is very clear and professional. And the fact that your very professional with me means I know you’ll be professional with guests, looking after my property when I’m not here. I think for me that’s the highlight.’

‘Monica’s been my main point of contact and she’s been great, very helpful. I called her only the other day just to check in on things. She was happy to chat and she’s always been very quick to get back to me about questions or anything else. In fact, I originally didn’t need a lockbox, I had my own but it broke just after my onboarding meeting. She was super happy to send someone round after my meeting to install another one so that was really amazing of her. She’s gone above and beyond, I’m really grateful that she’s been so great. She even said “your house is your biggest asset, we know that and so we won’t ever take it lightly.” It’s very reassuring for me. ’

We couldn’t just end things there though. We had to ask about her trip!

‘I’m packing a lot in for the 6 weeks but I think it’ll be great! I’m doing a bit around Mont Blanc. Then going to Croatia and Montenegro, we’re doing a bit of a drive around there. Then we’re going to Italy. The final part of my trip is Budapest then Copenhagen for a pediatrics conference for a few days at the end. See, when Australians travel to Europe, we do it all! It’s ridiculous getting a flight from Melbourne to Italy for the weekend, so we’re really maximising the trip while we’re there. I’m super excited!’

Katrina’s top Melbourne picks:

‘There’s so many places in East Melbourne, it really is in the centre of it all. From the house you can walk into the city centre and go through the Fitzroy Gardens. It actually has Captain Cook’s original house, which is quite unique. There’s also Collingwood, which is a much more vibrant, up and coming suburb with lots of cools bars. Smith Street has everything from hairdressers and cafes to odd shops and still has architectural traces of 10 or 20 years ago. It’s a really fun place to go out. There’s also the MCG which is the home of Australian rules football. Gertrude Street has a few really good brunch places, which Melbourne is sort of famous for. It’s got Archie’s All Day, a fabulous brunch place that’s perfect for people watching. There’s also a really good brunch place called Square & Compass, which is just off Fitzroy Gardens. Brunch is a huge focus in the area and in Melbourne in general. If you like smashed avocados you’re in the right place.’

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