Since its creation in 2008, Airbnb has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. Over 60 million people have stayed with hosts in 34,000 cities around the world.
What’s amazing about Airbnb is you don’t have to work in hospitality or own a castle to host (though props if you do). You can rent out a place to stay, help your neighbor host, or even give tours.
If you have space or experience to share, I’ll teach you how to be an Airbnb host, how to list on Airbnb, and what you’ll pay in Airbnb fees.
How to be an Airbnb host: three ways
1. Rent out a room, apartment, or house
The most common way to make money on Airbnb is to rent out a room, apartment, or house. Travelers will find your listing on the site and make reservations for days, weeks, or even months.
You can list a shared room, private room, or apartment, depending on what you have to offer and your comfort level with guests. There’s no one way for how to be an Airbnb host — you can find the way that works best for you.
As for how to list on Airbnb, you simply provide a detailed description of your space, along with several clear photographs. Aim to be as transparent as possible. Guests should know exactly what they’d be getting if they booked with you.
Likewise, you should look over the profiles of prospective guests to make sure they seem trustworthy. Even with Airbnb’s $1 million insurance, you want to read reviews and ensure that your guests will treat your home with care.
2. Become a neighborhood co-host
If you don’t have a place to rent, you can still make money on Airbnb as a neighborhood co-host. You’ll help local Airbnb hosts make reservations, welcome guests, or provide other services.
Most neighborhood co-hosts set their Airbnb fees between 10 and 20 percent of the total profit. If the host made $500 for a week’s stay, you would get between $50 and $100 for your help. Payment is automatic through Airbnb’s secure, online payment system.
To get started, create a profile on Airbnb and connect with your neighbors. Because the arrangement is so flexible, you can choose to work as much or as little as you want.
3. Provide a unique experience
A third, lesser-known option for making money on Airbnb involves hosting an experience. “Experience hosts” have a special passion or expertise to share, and are credible, genuine, and empathetic to their guests’ needs. They engage guests in meaningful conversation, teach them a skill, or share a cultural activity.
You can share a single experience, like a hike or class, or a multi-day set of tours. Other examples include painting at a private gallery, hiking with a botanist, or going shopping with a fashion blogger.
Take a look at Airbnb’s quality standards for hosts and experiences to see if you’re qualified to become an experience host.
Airbnb fees: How much money will you make?
The amount you can make on Airbnb depends on what you’re offering and your location. To help you set a price, Airbnb gives you the average price of comparable listings in your area.
An apartment in Boston, for instance, averages a weekly price of $518. In New York, an apartment goes for $569 a week, and a place in San Francisco costs $792.
You’ll pocket all of the listing price, minus a 3 percent host service fee. You can also charge extra Airbnb fees for cleaning, bike rental, pets, or late check-out.
Since Airbnb guests rely so much on reviews, you should make sure your description is accurate and prices are fair. You might also provide little extras, like a bottle of wine or a homemade travel guide.
Most new hosts set prices low to attract initial guests. Once you’ve become more experienced as an Airbnb host, you can raise your rates.
Another thing to consider is the cost of hosting. You’ll need to restock supplies, spend time processing reservations or you may need to buy new furniture. These costs can cut into your net profit as an Airbnb host.
If you currently live in a rental, make sure to get permission from your landlord before listing on Airbnb. You should also check your state’s laws; recently, several cities, including New York, passed laws to fine Airbnb hosts in an attempt to protect the local hotel industry.
Should you become an Airbnb host?
If you have a room, apartment, house, or special experience, hosting on Airbnb is a great way to earn money and meet new people from all over the world.
What are some other lucrative side gigs to supplement your income? Check out this article for 30 fun ways to turn your talent into extra cash.
Looking for more inspiration? This fitness instructor paid off $12,000 in student loans with income from his side hustle.
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