Here’s how much Airbnb host revenue has increased — and how you can maximize yours

Jthere’s never been a better time to step into the Airbnb Game.

According to the latest data, the typical U.S. Airbnb host saw revenue jump 85% last year compared to 2019, reaching an average of $13,800 per person. And the new hosts? They saw a 34% increase in revenue compared to those who started hosting in 2019. In total, new hosts earned over $1.8 billion in revenue during the year.

Are you considering investing in a short-term rental or opening your property as an Airbnb? Here are four ways to capitalize.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Choose the correct locale

California is the number one location for Airbnb hosts. The Golden State’s newest hosts garnered the most revenue in 2021, with nearly $270 million in revenue for the year. Here are some other high-paying places for new hosts:

  • Florida
  • Texas
  • new York
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Pennsylvania

If you want specific markets, short-term data analytics firm AirDNA says Maui is your best bet, followed by Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula; Chattanooga, TN; Gulfport/Biloxi, Mississippi; and Slidell, Louisiana. In Maui, the average income from a short-term rental is $102,000 per year.

2. Open your property to vacationers

It’s tempting to use your vacation home for yourself while on vacation. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas at the beach or spring break in sunny Florida?

As enticing as it is, this move could cost you dearly. Airbnb data shows that holiday weekends are serious sources of income for hosts. On Labor Day weekend in 2021, for example, American Airbnb hosts brought in $140 million in revenue. Memorial Day weekend was a close second at over $126 million, followed by July 4, which generated $120 million in hospitality revenue.

3. Invest in good photos – and lots of them

Data from AirDNA shows that more photos correspond to higher occupancy levels. Your ad should contain a minimum of 6-10 photos (which gives an occupancy rate of 48%), but the ideal number is 26 or more, which gives an overall occupancy rate of 59%.

Be sure to highlight all bedrooms, dining rooms, and living areas, as well as any amenities or features that make your listing unique. If it’s located in a community, photos of the amenities it offers — like the pool, gym, or business center — can also be helpful.

4. Carefully define your cleaning costs

Exorbitant cleaning fees are one of the biggest complaints from Airbnb guests. But they are also a double-edged sword. Reduce yours too much and you get below average service, poor reviews and less profit. Load up a heavy one, and you ensure an immaculate property but drive away potential guests with your sky-high costs.

A careful balance needs to be struck – one that takes into account the average cleaning fee for your area (you don’t want to go too far below or above), the size of your property, and your reviews/ratings. According to AirDNA, the median cleaning fee for cleaning is between $55 and $250 ($55 for a studio/one bedroom and $250 for a home with five or more bedrooms).

Scale and adapt

These are just the basics of a profitable Airbnb. To continue to increase your income as a host, you will need to be flexible and ready to adapt. Monitor your reviews and ratings, and make changes based on the feedback you receive. You should also keep a close eye on your competitors and update your prices and fees regularly to take advantage of high traffic days and events. You can also use Airbnb’s Smart Pricing tool.

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Aly Yale has no position in the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and endorses Airbnb, Inc. The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Julio V. Miller