MADISON (WKOW) – They are the type of people who have no problem opening their doors to others.
“Someone who comes to someone’s home just to rent a room is a different type of person I want to speak to,” said Airbnb host Mike Contreras. “I want to spend time with people like that.”
Mike and Denise Contreras are what you could call a bonified Airbnb gurus.
“With some of our rooms literally renting out every night, there has to be a change,” said Airbnb host Denise Contreras. “So we get up in the morning, I go to work, and Mike stays home and makes all the adjustments.”
But the road to rent frenzy was not an easy one. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mike was a receptionist at UW Health. Until…
“The nurses were repositioned; they had no appointments, they didn’t need an extra person. So I was gone,” said Mike.
And it’s obvious that health care runs in this couple’s blood.
“I had to be in the clinic and be able to help,” said Denise.
Denise is a nurse in the VA.
“I mean, I got to the point where I got up at 4 a.m. and would be in the hospital by 5:30 p.m. at 2:30 a.m.,” Denise said. “My clinic was at 3pm and I was home at 10.30am, went to bed, got up and it was like ‘time to make the donuts'”.
As the pandemic progressed, the couple turned to technology and became resourceful.
“I love the app to be able to just click, click, click,” said Mike.
Not only has Airbnb helped make up for a loss of income, it has also helped put a roof over the minds of those battling a deadly virus.
“Our first guests were long-time nurses,” said Denise.
This multi-bedroom home on Madison’s north side turned into an Airbnb haven for out-of-town healthcare workers when COVID was at its worst.
“We saw the need for travel nurses,” said Denise. “And it made it so much easier to say, ‘I’m a nurse, you’re a nurse, do you want to live here?’ So it worked out great. “
Mike and Denise’s company also helped grow their pandemic social bubble.
“Denise worked double shifts,” said Mike. “She would do her full-time job and maybe work 30-40 hours on the extra job because they were so needed. And here I was home alone the whole time.”
But now that her home is essentially a mini-hotel, safe social gatherings have become possible.
“That gave me a job and that was what I needed,” said Mike.
“Even though I went to work, literally to work, to work, to work. I knew I was going to come home and have a great conversation with someone who was here,” Denise said.
So let’s talk about money. That’s the whole point of the app, isn’t it?
“My goal last year was to make $ 100,000 so Denise wouldn’t have to do her second job,” said Mike. “Well, I didn’t and we spent a lot more. But with what I’ve done or done, and with Airbnb, she’s confident she won’t have to work.”
Music to the ears of a nurse who has put others first for most of her career.
“I was able to quit my second job. I’ve had two jobs over the past 12 years,” said Denise.
So whether it’s about building a roof over the heads of important workers during a global pandemic …
“It enabled us to do something for others,” said Denise.
Or, if you make enough cash to say goodbye to a second job, you can bet on your bottom line that the saying “what goes around comes around” is especially true of these living heroes.