Large study of Airbnb hosts hints at who is making the money

There’s an ongoing debate about how home-sharing sites like Airbnb are performing, and a new study from LearnAirbnb, a consultancy, casts some fresh light.

LearnAirbnb did a 119-page study of the home sharing industry, with market data on 430,000 US listings — which is about a fifth of the 2 million listings that Airbnb says it has in the US.

Some of the hard data was culled by Everbooked, a pricing and market intelligence firm for property owners.

Here are some highlights:

  • The median listing revenue nationwide for all hosts is $3,300 a year. Three out of every four listings earn modest total rental revenues of approximately $10,000 or less in a year. (The median numbers avoid the skewing of averages that happen due to the superhosts.)
  • Four out of five Airbnb hosts have only a single listing, but in some markets, like Miami, as much as 10% have three or more listings.
  • Superhosts (people who book 10 or more trips a year) make nearly double the average revenue of regular hosts.
  • An elite of superhosts gross even more, with at least 75 US hosts identified as grossing more than $1 million in rental income per year.
  • The top 1% of highest-grossing hosts made 19% of the overall bookings revenue in the sample.
  • 29% of surveyed hosts have never been guests on Airbnb.
  • Despite what the hotel industry says, the average annual occupancy of an Airbnb property is 17.1% — far less than most hotels.
  • Shared rooms, Airbnb’s original mainstay, fare even worse — 12.4% is their average annual occupancy.

The study also includes an attitudinal survey of more than 1,300 hosts across 83 countries, done in December 2015. That survey found:

  • 59.2% of current hosts surveyed are home-sharing for supplemental income, but the number of those motivated to host for building wealth (16.9%) is growing. For 15.4%, it is a main source of income.
  • Only the newbies are worried about security and stuff getting stolen — 18.5% of prospective hosts worry about it, but only 1.6% of actual hosts do.
  • Most hosts say they are fine with paying taxes.

The report is free for download at LearnAirbnb.

For context, see Tnooz’s recent review of Airbnb performance data.

Earlier, from Tnooz: Everbooked brings Big Data to Airbnb rental management

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.



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  1. duke

    According to rankings,
    in terms of most trafficked websites,
    AirBnb has leapfrogged past,,,
    to become the 170th most used website in USA and 475th worldwide.
    The last time I check in Sept. 2014, Airbnb was 427th in USA and 874th worldwide.
    I don’t see them slowing anytime soon.
    In USA they are only behind Expedia 106th and 145th and have surpassed at 351st place.
    All other travel sites I looked at lost ground except AirBnb and Expedia (holding steady)
    One amazing statistic is that AirBnb has the highest “time on site” with an average 10+ minutes!
    That is higher than every other travel site. (maybe since people sit and wait for a request response?)
    Kayak is the only site with a lower bounce rate 14.6% (the lowest) and only 5 minutes average on site. (very efficient, people find what they want)
    I don’t see why AirBnB can’t be #1 in the next few years. They have a better pricing structure (free +3% commission) and charge the user a booking fee directly.
    This solves all the issues with (rate parity, high commissions, limited listing details) and places the fees more toward the guest who is using the service. I think its a winning model. They just need to bring in more traditional lodging types and get an API going for instant inventory and they will be unstoppable.

    My first full year, 2014, AirBnB sent me $3000+ in revenue.
    2015, $9000+
    First two months of 2016 = $6000


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