How Much Does an Airbnb Host Make? (9 Factors)
Are you considering listing your property on Airbnb? Understanding how much an Airbnb host can make before listing your property as a short-term rental (STR) is crucial. Factors affecting profitability include Airbnb fees, property maintenance, occupancy rates, and location. With fierce competition in the Airbnb rental market, understanding these factors is crucial for increasing your rental income potential.
Getting started as an Airbnb host can be a great way to earn passive income. While some hosts make substantial profits, regular rental income is not guaranteed.
What can you do to run a successful vacation rental business on Airbnb? Here are nine key factors that can impact your income potential.
Understanding Airbnb Hosting
An Airbnb host is someone who rents space in their property to guests. The rental space can be a spare bedroom, part of their house, a boat, or an entire property. Earning extra income is the primary appeal of becoming an Airbnb host. Also, vacation rental owners enjoy various tax benefits, flexibility, and meeting new people.
According to Airbnb, the average host makes around $1,150 per month. However, earnings from vacation rental properties depend on several factors. For example, dynamic pricing strategies can significantly increase income on holiday weekends. Also, Airbnb properties in popular travel destinations or near convention centers can make more money due to higher occupancy rates.
Nine Factors That Influence Airbnb Earnings
Earning passive income from vacation rental properties depends on several factors. Of course, daily rates, cleaning expenses, Airbnb fees, and seasonality impact your bottom line. However, location, pricing strategy, and user experience are other factors impacting your Airbnb profit.
Let’s look in detail at nine Airbnb factors influencing your STR income.
1. Pricing strategy
The daily rate you charge guests is one of the most crucial factors impacting your earnings. Charge too much, and you will scare off potential guests. However, if you charge too little, you won’t make enough as a vacation rental host to cover your expenses.
Rather than charging a flat rate, a dynamic pricing strategy can boost your profit potential. A pricing strategy should consider market fluctuations, competition, season, and local events. It’s also vital that the standard of accommodation and nightly rate meet guests’ expectations.
2. Recurring expenses
Monthly expenses significantly impact Airbnb earnings. Operating expenses for a successful vacation rental include utilities, cleaning services, and maintenance. Therefore, knowing how your outgoing expenses will impact your profit potential is vital when setting a budget.
Here is a list of the typical fixed and variable expenses you can expect as an Airbnb host:
- Housekeeping: Includes services like cleaning, laundry, toilet paper, toiletries, and supplies.
- Insurance: Monthly vacation rental insurance is a necessary expense for Airbnb hosts. Airbnb offers free comprehensive protection included in the booking fees. However, having additional insurance coverage for floods or other natural disasters is still a good idea.
- Maintenance: Regular repairs and preventative maintenance help keep your Airbnb property in good order. Depending on your vacation rental business model, you could hire a property management company or local professionals, or do repairs yourself.
- Utilities: These are some of the highest variable expenses when operating an Airbnb. Utilities include gas, electricity, water, internet, heating, and lawn care.
The good news is that many expenses associated with Airbnb rental accommodations are tax-deductible.
Choosing a suitable location for buying an Airbnb rental is vitally important. Location is a significant factor that impacts your earnings. Ideally, you want to purchase an investment property in a desirable, low-crime neighborhood. Remember, Airbnb guests will also leave reviews about how safe they felt.
Researching the location is also vital to ensure Airbnb rentals are permitted. For example, San Francisco limits the number of properties a host can list. But in Dallas, short-term rentals are not allowed in certain neighborhoods. In many other cities, permits are necessary for STRs.
Seasonal demand greatly impacts Airbnb earnings. Peak seasons attract more guests, meaning you can charge premium rates. However, demand is lower in off-peak seasons, and it may be necessary to adjust nightly rates to attract more guests. However, seasonal demand gives you time to conduct necessary repairs and maintenance in the rental property.
Fluctuating demand during the week also affects earnings. For example, it’s common for businesspeople to travel on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Therefore, some Airbnb hosts increase nightly rates during these days and also on the weekends.
5. Airbnb host fees
Airbnb fees also impact earnings. Most hosts pay a flat rate of 3% per booking. For example, say you charge $100 per night for a three-night stay, plus $50 for a cleaning fee. In that case, you would earn $339.50.
To keep your prices competitive and maximize earnings, it’s also possible to charge fees for extra guests and pets. These fees must be entirely transparent when guests book accommodations.
6. Occupancy rate
Occupancy rates directly impact the success of vacation rental businesses. More bookings mean increased revenue and a better return on investment. However, it’s vital to maintain competitive pricing to ensure you generate a healthy profit while offering an excellent experience.
Here are two reasons why high occupancy rates are crucial:
1. Airbnb guests tend to choose listings with higher occupancy rates when booking.
2. Airbnb’s search algorithm considers various factors, including the occupancy rate, in search listing results.
Reviews indirectly impact earnings from rental properties. Reviews on Airbnb are important for both hosts and guests. They help to establish trust, improve reputation, and increase revenue through word of mouth. Some studies suggest that reviews and ratings impact listing prices.
For example, travelers typically use Airbnb reviews and ratings to find value-for-money accommodation. The higher the daily rate, the higher the rating guests expect. However, if the standard of accommodation doesn’t reflect reviews, guests will be inclined to leave poorer reviews.
8. User experience
Ensuring guests enjoy the experience of living in your vacation rental can significantly boost potential earnings.
Positive guest experiences result in favorable reviews and repeat bookings, boosting income. Conversely, a poor user experience can lead to negative reviews, decreased demand, and lower earnings. You can often enjoy higher occupancy rates and increased profitability by prioritizing guest satisfaction.
One study found that guests often blame themselves if the vacation rental doesn’t meet expectations. These feelings of regret and dissatisfaction often result in overly negative reviews due to their bad experience. The result is fewer subsequent bookings due to poor ratings.
Amenities play a pivotal role in vacation rental earnings. Of course, location, daily rates, and marketing are vital factors affecting Airbnb earnings. However, superfast Wi-Fi, fully equipped kitchens, comfortable lounge areas, and a barbecue can make listings stand out and let you command higher prices.
By investing in amenities, you enhance the overall guest experience. This factor also indirectly improves financial returns for hosts. You increase the chances of more satisfied customers, better reviews, and top-star ratings.
Example Earnings (Annual)
The best way to learn how much you could make as an Airbnb host is to compare similar properties in the area. Work out the average daily rate and multiply it by the occupancy rate. This will give you an estimate of what average hosts make in your neighborhood.
Of course, running a successful Airbnb business differs from traditional renting. Some recurring expenses are variable, while others are fixed. Also, occupancy rates and location can greatly impact your earnings.
Here is a sample calculation of annual earnings based on per-stay expense assumptions:
- Daily rate: $100
- Cleaning fee (if applicable): $20
- Host fees: $3.60 (3%)
- Utilities: $30 (calculate an average daily rate)
Adding the daily rate and cleaning fee minus the host fees and utilities means earning $106.40 per stay.
To calculate annual earnings, multiply the per-stay figure by the target occupancy rate. A good Airbnb occupancy rate of 65% and above is ideal, although some cities have higher rates. That means you expect bookings for at least 237 days in the year.
Therefore, your annual Airbnb earnings, for the example property, would be $25,216.80. However, you should also deduct income taxes and annual property maintenance.
How much could you earn in your area as an Airbnb host? Why not check out the BiggerPockets Airbnb calculator to find out?
Tips on Maximizing Your Airbnb Earnings as a Host
Whether you’re a first-time Airbnb host or an experienced pro, a few key things can help to maximize your earnings. Here are tips on how to increase potential revenue:
- Increase occupancy: You could offer additional sleeping space to increase earnings. For example, a sleeper sofa could accommodate two more people. You could also consider making your place kid- and pet-friendly and accessible for people with disabilities.
- Use a dynamic pricing strategy: Track availability trends, competitor prices, seasonal demand, and special events. You can charge more during high-demand times, school vacations, and holiday seasons. An effective pricing strategy can help boost occupancy rates and earnings.
- Optimize your listing: Make sure your listing stands out from competitors. Hire a professional photographer to showcase the best features of your property and the surrounding area.
- Offer a super guest experience: Don’t be satisfied with offering basic amenities, like Wi-Fi, kitchen condiments, and a washer/dryer. Consider using small, thoughtful touches to impress your guests. A few ideas include a complimentary welcome basket, high-quality linens and towels, fancy soaps, board games, game consoles, and chargers.
- Keep the place clean: Ensure the living space is always immaculately clean and welcoming. Guests typically pay a cleaning fee and don’t want to feel shortchanged. It’s also a good idea to reset kitchen cupboards and drawers after each guest.
- Become an Airbnb Superhost: Do you want to attract more guests and boost earnings? If so, becoming a Superhost ensures your property stands out among the competition. To become and remain an Airbnb Superhost, you must maintain a 4.8-star rating.
- Embrace social media marketing: Use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and X (formerly Twitter) to expand your reach and increase bookings. For example, create a social media account for your Airbnb. You could post high-quality photos, videos, and updates. Additionally, guests could share their experiences of their stay.
- Partner with local businesses: You could collaborate with local businesses like restaurants, spas, and tour operators to offer deals and discounts. They also may be willing to cross-promote your services.
- Offer add-on services: If you live near your vacation rental, consider offering add-on services. These can include airport transfers, home-cooked meals, tours, and bicycle rentals.
- Use local, organic, or sustainable products: You can increase the Airbnb experience by offering eco-friendly products. For example, are there local producers selling products like soaps or shampoos? You could use these toiletries in bathrooms and offer larger quantities for guests to buy. Or you could use natural cleaning products and install energy-efficient appliances.
Becoming an Airbnb host can be a great way to earn passive income. You can boost occupancy rates and earnings by having a pricing strategy, keeping the property well maintained, and focusing on customer experience. At the same time, keeping an eye on expenses is crucial to ensure you enjoy healthy returns on your short-term rental investment.
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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.