New Airbnb hosts in Texas earned $170 million last year, ranking third in the nation

Scott Schober makes a living as an Airbnb host.

The 37-year-old from Dallas started in 2015 with his first property, and it has since turned into something he didn’t know he wanted to do.

Schober enjoyed the experience and benefited from it so much that he quit his job. Today, he owns five North Texas properties that he rents out on the home rental platform.

“I love it,” said Schober, who previously worked as a humanitarian aid coordinator at Buckner International. “I feel like it connects me with people who come to Dallas for various reasons (and they get) to see what the city is really like.”

And it’s not just Schober, who said he pocketed around $75,000.

For new Airbnb hosts in Texas, the gig was pretty profitable last year. Texas ranked third in the United States for new host revenue – $170 million in 2021, according to Airbnb.

The interior of an Airbnb home owned by Scott Schober in Plano.(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

Around the world, Airbnb hosts have earned $150 billion since the website was founded in 2008including 60 billion dollars in the United States

The new Dallas County hosts earned more than $15.5 million in 2021.

After the pandemic temporarily halted travel, Schober was nervous about where travelers would prefer to book their stay, but he found many were going to Airbnbs rather than traditional hotels. That’s when he noticed an increase in bookings.

Since then, he said, travel has slowed, but travelers are still booking staycations.

“It’s a huge source of income that I rely on, and it’s all been canceled,” Schober said. “So that was a little scary.”

The demand for housing is still there, said Samuel Randall, senior communications manager at Airbnb.

Natalia Sutin, vice president of revenue management for vacation rental company Vacasa, agrees travelers will always be looking for great rentals. Portland-based Vacasa operates in 400 vacation rental destinations in North America, Belize and Costa Rica.

“As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline, we expect demand to remain high as people revisit vacations, family events and celebrations as well as large-scale entertainment activities like concerts and festivals,” Sutin said.

Over the past year, San Francisco-based Airbnb has reduced its host onboarding process to just 10 steps, Randall said. The company also introduced AirCover, $1 million in liability insurance and damage protection for hosts that he includes on each stay.

Airbnbs and similar vacation companies have plagued neighborhoods near sports or entertainment venues. Registrations in Arlington, for example, have prompted complaints about house party noise around Dallas Cowboys games and beer festivals at Texas Live.

Airbnb has implemented stricter rental policies to counter party rentals. In 2020, it banned U.S. renters under 25 who have less than three positive reviews or one negative review from booking entire homes in areas close to where they live. Otherwise, Airbnb’s age limit is 18.

It’s a situation that Schober says is under control. He said Airbnb has also added tech features for hosts to ensure neighborhoods aren’t disrupted. Hosts can use a data analytics program that monitors potential party guests, he said.

“A lot of the party house situations that you hear about are actually older situations that people keep bringing up,” Schober said. “Airbnb has actually already come in and shut these people down. So I think they are doing a very good job.

An Airbnb home owned by Scott Schober in Plano.
An Airbnb home owned by Scott Schober in Plano.(Jason Janik / Special Contributor)

Airbnb has over 4 million hosts in over 220 countries and regions.

For Schober, the experience as a host is the gift that keeps on giving. He met and heard stories from people all over the country. During the 2021 winter freeze, which claimed the lives of nearly 250 Texans and left many without power, Schober hosted a couple and their baby at one of its Airbnb locations.

“I was just grateful to have had the opportunity to host a place where they could come in and stay to be safe and warm,” Schober said.

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