Here’s How to Make Money With Airbnb — Even if You Don’t Have a Spare Room
Disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Airbnb.
Although the online accommodation marketplace has been around 2008, I just booked my first stay through the app last summer. It was the sweetest little garage apartment in a quaint Nashville neighborhood.
I’ve been hooked ever since.
The other side of Airbnb -- the hosting side -- fascinates me, too. In fact, my boyfriend and I dream of owning a house with a garage apartment.
But if Airbnb is still around, it could make for some substantial side income -- maybe even enough to pay our mortgage.
But now you don’t even have to have a space to rent to make money with Airbnb, thanks its new feature called “Experiences.”
What are Airbnb Experiences?
Back in November, Airbnb unfurled Experiences.
Basically, locals can host, well, experiences.
“Book experiences designed and led by some of the most interesting people out there,” Airbnb states on its website. “You’ll get to unleash the sushi chef or street artist you’ve always wanted to be.”
It’s a way for travelers to connect with locals, immerse themselves in the city’s culture and experience something totally new -- or spark up an old hobby.
Who Can Be an Airbnb Experience Host?
You, probably. (Do note it’s only been released in several big cities thus far, but Airbnb says more will come.)
“Hosts are chefs, hikers, or just knowledgeable locals who want to show others little-known pockets of their community,” Airbnb states on its website. “They can host an experience or multiple ones over the course of a few days.”
Do you know a whole lot about your city’s history? Do you have a backyard pottery or painting studio? Do you know all the hidden speakeasies in town?
Find your niche, and design an experience around it.
How to Design an Airbnb Experience
You can choose to create one experience or you can opt for an “immersion.”
One experience lasts two or more hours, but is more brief than an immersion. Airbnb describes it as a “quick glimpse into your world.” Examples of this would include a walking tour, bar-hopping or a workshop.
An immersion can last a couple of days. This could be something like surfing all day and then camping under the stars at night.
Once you decide what you’d like to do, you can sign up in four steps (at the bottom of this page).
You’ll fill out bits and pieces of information to go on your experience page, including photos, a personal description and an outline of the experience. As long as you have plans in place, the process shouldn’t take too long.
If your experience meets Airbnb’s standards, you can set up shop!
How Much Money Can You Make as an Experience Host?
You get to set your experience’s price.
The average price of experiences booked thus far has been $100. For immersions, the average price has been $270.
Airbnb offers helpful guidelines when deciding how much to charge. Some tips include:
- Offering a good deal when you first start so you can build your reputation with substantial reviews. You can raise the price over time.
- Considering that price will set your customers’ expectations. If you set a high price, well, they’re going to expect the best.
- Be sure to consider how much you’ll spend on materials, time spent and cost of food or rentals. Airbnb recommends calculating these expenses based on a group, rather than per individual.
And remember: Airbnb has to make some money, too, so it takes a 20% cut from your earnings, Fortune reports, which is a bit heftier than the 3% it takes from home bookings.
However, if you’ve partnered with a nonprofit, you’ve got nothing to lose (in terms of money).
And this might be a “derp” tip, but Airbnb says the experiences that cost less are usually booked more, so keep that in mind when planning!
Your Turn: Are you an Airbnb experience host? We’d love to share your story!
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. If she hosted an experience, it’d probably include sitting on the couch and watching Netflix because that’s what she’s best at. (Just kidding.)