Seniors as Airbnb Hosts: Just Try It!

We’ve all read about millennials making lots of money on Airbnb. But Airbnb is not only for 20-something-year-olds! It’s also well known that the seniors demographic (ages60+) is the fastest growing group of Airbnb hosts. Furthermore, seniors are turning to Airbnb hosting for many reasons: maybe it’s due to rising living costs; or because they have an extra space in their empty nest; maybe it’s purely as way to meet new people on the road; or even just to fight loneliness. In other words, there are definitely many economical and social reasons that makes Airbnb and seniors a win-win partnership.

Why should seniors try to be Airbnb hosts? So, the situation is as simple as this: while many seniors live alone and have extra space in their “once a family” home, Airbnb is simple looking for extra space. Plus, apart from that, while many seniors miss having people around, Airbnb is all about having people at your place. As a result, it’s an economic and social strategy that surely can work well for many seniors.

Why are Senior Hosts the Fastest-Growing Age Group of Hosts on Airbnb?

1. By being Airbnb hosts, seniors can avoid moving, downsizing, eviction or foreclosure

So seniors feel pressured to move to retirement housing. In other words, many seniors feel pressured to downsize from their long-term homes. After all, its expensive to maintain a larger house once your children have moved out, and many seniors usually question themselves about what to do with the house, that just became too big for them alone.

But even if the big house is not necessarily needed anymore, seniors tend to want to stay in their homes, mostly for emotional reasons, in other words, sentimental value of their home.

Therefore, for many seniors, the extra income from Airbnb allows them to afford staying in their homes and avoid moving, downsizing, or worse, eviction or foreclosure.

As a result, Airbnb is an awesome way of solving this issue.  That is to say, Airbnb can definitely help seniors earn money to maintain and stay in their home.

Besides, Airbnb is very flexible. That is to say that seniors can rent an extra room only on the days they want to, leaving it free for family or friends when they need it.

2. By being Airbnb hosts, seniors are able to age in place, grow old in their neighbourhood, within their communities

When seniors host on Airbnb it helps strengthen their communities. To clarify, because Airbnb are allowing seniors to keep their houses, seniors that are Airbnb host are being able to grow old in their neighbourhood, within their community.

In fact, according to Airbnb annual survey data, 41% of seniors reported that hosting has helped them afford to stay in their homes – places they’ve often lived for much of their lives.

3. By being Airbnb hosts, seniors can make a lot of extra-income

The typical senior host earns US$7,000 annually by home sharing – valuable income for those who are retired or on fixed incomes. Moreover, according to Airbnb official news, globally, these hosts earned over $2 billion in supplemental income through Airbnb, welcoming 13.5 million guest arrivals from over 150 countries, in 2017 alone.

In fact, 45% of senior hosts rely on their Airbnb income to makes ends meet and spend it on important costs of living.

Therefore, with Airbnb, seniors can supplement their savings for day-to-day living or get extra income for luxuries and vacations.

4. By being Airbnb hosts, seniors can have another “project” to work on to keep them busy after retirement

So I met too many seniors that didn’t want to stop working, afraid of being bored, having nothing else to do, etc. Therefore, I know that many seniors don’t feel ready to retire from work.

Airbnb is a great way to keep a host busy and still enjoying the social aspect of working. Additionally, the best thing is that it’s flexible: a host is only busy when he/she decides to accommodate someone. Thus, hosting can be a great way to ease into  a senior’s retirement.

5. By being Airbnb hosts, seniors can socialize, meet new interesting people and even show their city to them

While hosting, seniors will get to meet people from all over the world. They will also have the opportunity to revisit places they love, when showing off their city to their guests. In other words, seniors can make extra income while doing work they enjoy.

6. By being Airbnb host, seniors can profit from Tax Benefits

There are several tax benefits available for short-term rental hosts with Airbnb. In other words, that means that if seniors rent a room in their house for at least 15 days per year they can actually claim back a portion of house maintenance expenses. 

Seniors that are Airbnb Hosts Spread Out Around the World

According to Airbnb official news, for years, seniors have been a growing and integral part of the Airbnb community as hosts. In fact, the Globe and Mail published an article in 2016 that said that “while hosts from the general population are growing at a rate of 85%, year over year, among seniors, however, hosts are growing at a rate of 100%”. In fact, the number of Airbnb experiences hosted by seniors has grown by nearly 1100% in 2017. Moreover, the latest Airbnb statistics from 20019 confirmed that seniors keep being the fastest-growing Airbnb host demographic, with over 200,000 senior hosts, globally.

Furthermore, just to give an example of the extension of the seniors activity on Airbnb, across the United States, currently nearly 78.000 seniors share their homes with travelers from around the world on the platform. with over 200,000 senior hosts and over 120,000 senior women hosts. 

Countries with the most Experience senior hosts

  • United States
  • Italy
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • France

Why do Seniors Make Such Great Airbnb Hosts?

1. Seniors have more flexibility

Flexibility is a big challenge that Airbnb hosts face and seniors have a major advantage on this, comparing to other demographic hosts.

So guest arrival time and key exchange (check-in procedure) is the trickiest part of being an Airbnb host. Because travelers are often caught up with unexpected delays due to transportation or any other factor, it’s very important to be available and flexible to be able to adjust according to the guests arrival time.

Airbnb’s don’t usually have a 24-hour reception desk so guests can check in at all hours of the day. Consequently, hosts working 9-5 jobs or with younger families don’t always have the flexibility guests need to deal with unexpected travel delays and changes. On the other hand, seniors who have fewer set commitments on weekdays can be far more flexible to meet guests’ changing arrival needs.

2. Seniors are very hospitable

Seniors have more time available for pleasantries and small talk. And these hosting niceties can make a big difference to the positive guest experience. In fact, the people who stay with senior hosts have rated them as providing the highest quality Airbnb experience

Moreover, according to Airbnb, 85% of reviews of senior hosts in 2017 were five-star reviews.

3. Seniors are very considerate and thoughtful

Because they are from another era where people used to be more considerate with each other. So they are used to treat guests as special visits from those times and they try to make sure that the guests are well.

In addition, they put a lot of thought about each detail that the guest may need and try to provide everything.

4. Seniors are good story-tellers

Seniors that have lived many decades in the city usually love to tell stories about the city and how it was. So they know all the ins and outs and guests can have very interesting conversations with them. 

What are some common questions from  seniors that are potential Airbnb hosts?

Is Airbnb Safe For Seniors to Host?

It’s common for seniors to have concerns about their security of renting on Airbnb, especially if they live alone.

So for seniors worried about letting strangers into their home, Airbnb works with a cybersecurity expert and requires identity verification checks to ensure people are who they say they are.

Most Airbnb stays are safe. Of course, there is a small percentage of Airbnb stays that could go wrong. But for that, there are safety measures in place, including a reciprocal rating system for both hosts and guests and 24/7 Airbnb support. 

Therefore, seniors who live alone may want to be more selective when accepting bookings. They have the option to communicate with the travelers prior to accept them. And also to choose to accept bookings only from travelers with a consistently good 5-star rating.

How can a senior be prepared to start receiving Airbnb guests?

Airbnb guests have common courtesy requests, so if seniors become hosts they should:

1. Prior to arrival:

  • Provide accurate listing details.
  • Try not to cancel guest reservations without reason.
  • Be able to respond by email to questions or reservation requests within 24 hours.

2. Upon arrival:

  • Provide basic amenities to guests, including toilet paper, soap, linens, sheets, towels and pillows.
  • Treat guests staying with you with respect.

3. After the guest departure:

  • Perform basic cleaning services and turnover (replace linens and clear out trash) between guests.

Note that if seniors are unable to provide cleaning services themselves, they can always add a cleaning fee to their listing price that covers the cost of a professional cleaning service.

How can seniors protect themselves as hosts?

While the vast majority of the guests seniors will host will be probably amazing people, they need to prepare for the possibility of having some not so great ones. And Airbnb, like other reputable home share services, offers hosts protection, such as liability insurance.

But there are other steps seniors can take to ensure their personal and financial safety as a host.

1. Set house rules

Seniors need to be upfront with guests about what they can and cannot do while they stay at their home.

2. Keep important documents locked away in a safe

If seniors don’t want guests to see certain documents or have access to certain things, it’s best to keep them locked away.

3. Hold or forward their mail

If seniors are going to be away while guests stay at your place, it’s a good idea to hold or forward their mail so that any important, private documents don’t fall into the wrong hands.

4. Choose guests wisely

Seniors need to set up their account so that they can accept and decline each reservation. That way you can screen potential guests before they officially book the place seniors are offering.

Can Seniors Host If they Don’t Own their Property?

Yes, seniors can become an Airbnb host even if they don’t own property.

Alternatively,  seniors can also become an Airbnb co-host by helping someone else in their neighbourhood manage their listing, without hosting in their own home.

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    1. Hi Josh, thank you so much for the support 🙂 It means A LOT to me! Please let me know what topics you would like to read about and I will write some posts for you.

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