Ready to Book Your next 420-friendly Airbnb? Check out Vibesbnb

People plan vacations around all sorts of experiences from outdoor adventures and music festivals to poolside and wine themes. In recent years, however, a new travel experience has become increasingly popular: cannabis tourism. From farm stays and bud-and-breakfast experiences to all-inclusive vacation rentals that include fully stocked bud bars and CBD massages, the tourism industry is slowly adapting to a new sector.

Vibesbnb is part of the growing cannabis tourism industry.  The  Miami-based company helps guests find safe and accessible lodging in any recreational or medical state that allows travelers to consume or vaporize their favorite edible and choice of cannabis. You can select, place orders, and book locations in states available on vibesbnb.com

Since Deontae Mack founded the company in 2020, Vibesbnb has handled more than 5,000 reservations related to cannabis tourism.

Deontae what intrigues you about the cannabis industry? 

Businesses that never considered being part of the cannabis industry can now see a place for their companies.

I saw a niche in the short-term rental industry because there’s an opportunity due to the lack of accessibility. 

Vibesbnb provides a platform for hosts to offer cannabis-friendly accommodations, allowing guests to consume cannabis legally and comfortably. We play a role in helping cannabis users find safe and welcoming environments where they can consume cannabis while traveling.

How did you get into the cannabis tourism industry?

I was working nonstop after graduating from FIU in 2016, including driving for Uber and Lyft. I decided to rent an extra bedroom in our home that was relatively close to downtown Hollywood, Florida.

We lived with our guests which gave me an opportunity to talk directly to guests. At the same time, I noticed many bookings complaining about the service on Airbnb when it pertained to cannabis-friendly accessibility.

I thought to myself how can I solve this problem, considering it was just simply a lack of communication between the host and guest.

Cannabis has always been a niche community, but no platform had ever considered itself a cannabis platform. I thought it was a good opportunity for growth if we focused on cannabis users and solving problems for the tourist community who consume and need to find accessible homes.

So how did you get started? 

I recruited my best friend, Alexander Robinson to get him interested in how the world is opening up to cannabis hospitality. He and I had owned a previous business together related to video games. We started talking about shifts in the industry including Colorado which got into cannabis tourism about a decade ago.

When the State of Florida approved medical marijuana in 2106 I knew there was an opportunity to start a new business. Airbnb did not have a policy on cannabis and I knew that hosts had problems with cannabis users. That’s when I thought that creating a “Joint Community” standard could attract cannabis users to my listings and get numbers that would lead to profitable margins. 

I began my career as a Vibesbnb entrepreneur host from that moment on.  We grew the short-term renting business to six figures in the next three years. 

We did it by investing in one property first and then saving the extra seasonal money to invest in several additional properties.

Along the way, I met my investor who owned a non-profit organization called Empowering People Foundation. He found me at the end of those three years and was excited about my growth and work ethic. He shared his personal experience about how none of his friends used cannabis, yet he saw it as a long-term market that he was interested in investing. He also talked about how opinions are shifting and most states nationwide allow cannabis either medical and/or recreational. I was able to convince him to sponsor Vibesbnb.

So what makes your business different?

 We assure our customers that their cannabis consumption will not cause extra smoking fines or cancellations related to bookings. We encourage communication between hosts and guests about cannabis culture and social vibes.

Since Vibesbnb has handled over 5,000 reservations so far (primarily in Florida), that means the business helps homeowners to earn income. Can you tell me how you market the company to find people to sign up?

We leverage social media and look for targeted ways to advertise to Air BNB hosts who are already cannabis consumers. Our approach is aimed at reaching out to people who are both interested in cannabis and in being part of an experience platform. 

  But marketing on a personal level is also extremely important. A couple of years ago we started offering educational programs for hosts. We’ve gained over 150 properties across different states as a result. 

Cannabis is new in a lot of states. But since COVID started and cannabis was considered an essential business, more than 20 states have legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes.

Since 2019, our company is averaging a monthly booking revenue of between $13,000 to $18,000.

What’s been the biggest challenge in building your business? 

People don’t want to be inconvenienced for their choice of medicine. We’re trying to promote wellness. People who use cannabis want to feel like they can be in a safe and welcoming space, especially when they use cannabis as their medicine for health challenges.

The whole point of this platform is to make people feel appreciated and in a safe space.

The biggest challenge is that most of these homeowners are over 45. They either own the homes or rent them out through companies.
For way too many people, there’s an instant discomfort with them being receptive to allowing cannabis in their homes because they grew up with what the government pushed out to the public about the war on drugs.

Education is crucial for the general public, which includes the hospitality industry as a whole. Cannabis tourism is going to continue to gain more ground. Right now it’s less than about two percent of world travel, but projections for growth are significant.

How many markets are you in so far: Our markets continue to grow, but most of the growth comes from areas where people have the highest level of success in the AirBNB market. We focus our marketing on those markets. They include Florida, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit, New Jersey, Seattle, San Diego, Houston, Chicago, Miami, and New York. 

So far, our largest market is Miami, where we’ve had over 100 active properties. The listings can accommodate a huge variety in a nightly price range, from affordable options as low as $50 to $85 a night for a private room at one and two-bedroom properties to luxurious mansions.  

As the business grows, we’re starting to get listings for big baller options as well. Those options are available to families, large groups, and corporate events that can cost as much as $10,000 a night. 

Why are you most excited about the growth potential for the business?

Cannabis is taking off in more ways than we could have ever imagined nationwide and worldwide. Businesses that have never considered the cannabis industry are now seeing its impact, including small businesses like mine.

Companies like mine are seeing a major impact in impressions and revenue.

I see future opportunities because there’s a major shift in how America is looking at cannabis on a local and state level. It’s a worldwide momentum shift, and a growing number of people in the general public no longer see the plant as something that’s evil.

Because cannabis is becoming more mainstream, it’s great to see that convictions are starting to get overturned.

Do you have any recent developments that have evolved from your business plan? 

Yes. In the last week, I just got an exclusive partnership with Cookies, which is one of the world’s largest cannabis brands.  Vibes Papers, a rolling paper brand that Cookies created also offers grinders, lighters, rolling trays, and papers. 

They’re going to help me to create a marketing strategy that includes swag and merchandise items for VibesBNB hosts.

 I’m excited that brands like Cookies that have gotten worldwide recognition are now open to partnering and sponsoring brands that are in the cannabis space including non-plant touching companies like mine.

Collaborations are important, so I’m looking forward to developing our new partnership.

I want to build a platform that not just focuses on cannabis but also the vibes. What is the vibe? That’s whatever the host wants to deliver as part of their experience. The whole point is that we want hosts to deliver a safe experience that’s accessible and not inconvenient to travelers.

Part of our core values is that we want people to be able to book where they want without prejudice of being put into a box for being a cannabis consumer.

What do you enjoy doing for fun when you’re not working on building your business?

Outside of work, I’m a video game fanatic. Before I started VibesBNB I worked for a company that sold gaming chairs to kids with my co-founder Alexander Robinson. 

I also enjoy spending time with my cat Gigi. I also breed cats.

I really am in grind mode, so I work a lot. But when I’m not working I    like to read a lot, including information about AI, Artificial intelligence. My dad was a big Star Trek fan and AI reminds me of new possibilities for tools that can help us in the future. I’m always looking for ways that might benefit my business

Why are you participating in the Ohio Cannabis Health & Business Summit in Cleveland? 

First of all, educating the general public is important for industry growth.  As a multi-state tourism company, Vibes BNB is committed to being part of opportunities dedicated to educating the general public. 

I’m looking forward to being in markets that are not urban-focused, so taking part in this event is an opportunity to play a role in educating the general public about opportunities in cannabis tourism and in participating in the short-term rental space industry on a small level.

I’m attempting to be a disruptor and that’s why I’m supporting this event. It’s an opportunity to play a role in emerging markets like Ohio.

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