Airbnb hosts made more money in 2021 than ever before

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  • The median income of an Airbnb host reached $13,800 in 2021, the company said.
  • Short-term rental occupancy rates also reached record highs in 2021.
  • Travelers working remotely and adding properties in new destinations have boosted bookings.

In 2021, everyone wanted to travel.

Short-term rental occupancy rates have come back strong from their lockdown lows. Last June marked the first time that the occupancy rate in the United States exceeded 70%, according to the vacation rental research company. AirDNA.

And Airbnb, for its part, says its hosts have reaped the benefits.

In one new reportthe leading short-term rental market said the typical host’s income in 2021 jumped 85% from 2019. The typical host brought in $13,800 last year from their Airbnb property, compared to 7,500 in 2019. (Median host income information in 2020 was unavailable.)

Sam Randall, a spokesman for Airbnb, attributed the increase to “pent-up travel demand” due to COVID-19 restrictions that have grounded many vacationers. “Whether it’s getting in the car or jumping on a plane, people are looking to satisfy that desire to travel,” he said.

Kathy Corby, a retired Philadelphia-based doctor who hosts an Airbnb, said she’s seen big returns in the past year.

In October 2020, Corby was reuniting with her daughter in the Catskills when she realized something about their Airbnb: she’d like to own one herself.

After a short search, Corby closed a four-bedroom home in Saugerties, New York, in December 2020 – just 20 minutes from where she originally stayed. She paid $511,000 for the 19th century property; it’s now on Airbnb for an average of $403 a night.

It’s a move that brought in $85,700 in revenue in 2021, according to documents verified by Insider.

Corby said she loved being an Airbnb host, even though a guest’s child drew a tic-tac-toe on her leather sofa. She has befriended some of her past guests and drives out on Sundays to clean and use the property herself.

“I love the house,” she says. “I consider it my home.”

The rise of remote work has led to longer Airbnb stays

Several factors have allowed Airbnb hosts like Corby to capitalize on owning a short-term rental, including the growing popularity of remote working and the expansion of the platform to include new destinations.

During the pandemic, 35% of private sector companies have increased remote work options for their employees, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Of those companies, 60% say they plan to keep these policies permanent, affecting about 38 million U.S. workers.

Randall said the flexibility of remote workers has resulted in longer bookings. In Q4 2021, Airbnb found that nearly half of all nights booked were a week or longer, and 20% of stays were a month or longer.

Corby said many of the “Millennials and Gen Xers” who stay at his house are inquiring about remote work equipment. “They’ll ask me about the Wi-Fi signal strength and if there are any places they can work without interruptions,” she told Insider.

Travelers book new destinations on Airbnb

Another trend driving up median host income is the expansion of the Airbnb card. Since the pandemic began, Randall said 6,000 cities and towns have registered their first Airbnb bookings.

“People are spreading out and looking at different types of travel,” Randall said.

Short-term rental bookings increased 67% in 2021 in rural areas and small towns compared to before the pandemic, according to a COVID-19 outlook report from AirDNA.

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