Airbnb Launches Entrepreneurship Academy in Miami to Attract More Hosts

Paola Ugolini, who hosts Florida's most popular Airbnb listing, in the cottage of her home in Biscayne Park on January 16, 2019.

Paola Ugolini, who hosts Florida’s most popular Airbnb listing, in the cottage of her home in Biscayne Park on January 16, 2019.

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Winter is coming and that means Miami is about to be flooded with tourists.

Before the international kick-off event — Art Basel — Airbnb launches an Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy to help Miami residents learn how to use the platform and earn extra money from visitors in need of temporary housing.

The academy is a free 90-minute online workshop Thursday. Potential hosts can get help signing up and navigating the Airbnb platform and learning best practices. The digital technology company has partnered with the Black Innovation Center, a Miami non-profit organization, to organize the workshop. “Super Hosts” will participate to share tips on how they successfully created and managed short-term listings on Airbnb.

“We’re trying to create entrepreneurial pathways for ordinary people who own properties and want to earn extra money,” said Starex Smith, senior vice president of the Center for Black Innovation.

Airbnb had issues with the black community, after many African American users said they had been discriminated against on the internet market. He hopes partnering with Airbnb on this workshop will help unlock the economic opportunities the platform has to offer.

“Discrimination against black people on Airbnb was one of the main issues I asked about before entering into this partnership,” he said. “The academy addresses this and shows people who weren’t participating that they can do it and teaches them about the possibilities. Engaging with communities that weren’t part of the Airbnb platform can open up opportunities.”

The workshop organizers hope to attract people who have a second home or want to rent out their venues during large events and holiday weekends while they are staying with family or friends. Miami’s winter and spring seasons are packed with big-budget events, from Art Basel to Formula 1, Presidents’ Day weekend and Spring Break. Airbnb hosts can earn up to several thousand dollars by renting out their homes to visitors for these and other events.

“We believe this is an opportunity for any Miami resident who owns property and is experiencing rising costs and struggling with the inflation-driven economy,” Smith said. “It’s a good way to offset some of those rising costs with some extra income.”

Airbnb said 710,000 guests used its platform to book stays in Miami in 2021, with the typical host earning an extra $5,000 a year. During Art Basel in 2019, before the pandemic, 12,000 people stayed in Airbnb listings, giving hosts a collective $2.4 million.

But South Florida residents beware: Airbnb is not permitted or is restricted in many parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, including parts of Miami Beach. Smith said the workshop would include advising people on local rules and regulations.

The Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy will be held on Thursday, November 10 at 12 p.m.

Prospective hosts can register at Airbnb Entrepreneurship Academy using this link.

This story was originally published November 9, 2022 4:53 p.m.

Anna covers the South Florida tourism industry for the business office, including cruises, hotels, airlines, ports, and hospitality workforce. Previously, she was a foreign correspondent based in Brazil. She holds an MA from Columbia Journalism School and a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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