How to Make Money with Airbnb

Changing Tides in Tourism

Airbnb has revolutionized the way people travel and experience tourism destinations. One of the largest industries in the world, Travel & Tourism generated $8.8 trillion across the world in 2018.  Part of the growth of this industry can be attributed to home-sharing company Airbnb changing the way people book accommodations. 

A huge factor (and cost) in planning holidays and vacations is the cost of lodging. Hotels, especially good ones, come at a premium. There are hotels you can get for cheap, but honestly, you get what you pay for. Sometimes even the ones that seem like a decent middle-of-the-road pick turn out to be a major disappointment.

Airbnb now boasts over 4-million listed properties in over 65,000 cities across the world. According to its recent Healthy Travel and Healthy Destinations report, Airbnb has not only opened up accommodation options, it has helped fight tourism overcrowding and changed the economics of tourism to benefit locals.

The sharing community has opened up a world of wealth for home owners that was never available before. Airbnb hosts keep up to 97 percent of what they charge to rent their space, compared to chain hotels, for example. They can then spend and reinvest their earnings any way they choose, including household expenses, rent and mortgage payments, renovations, or investing in additional properties.

How to Make Money with Airbnb

There are several ways to make money with Airbnb. We’ll start with the easiest way first.  Simply share your referral link and discount with friends and family and earn travel credits for free trips. We’ve done this for years and have gotten some great free stays that way. 

When you share your link with someone and they use Airbnb for the first time, they get a discount and you get a travel credit. The very first time I got a travel credit was for sending my husband my referral link. We were taking a trip to Europe, staying in a few different places.  By sending him my link we got $40 off his booking and I received a $25 Travel Credit. Essentially we  gained $65 which paid for one of the nights of our trip. More about this below.

If you want an Airbnb Discount, grab it now. The value of the credit changes slightly throughout the year. Last I checked it was a $42 discount for you, but back in July 2019 it was as high as $55 off. You have one year to utilize the credit. Once you’ve taken your first trip you can start giving out your link and earning your own travel credits as well.  Travel is amazing, but free travel is truly priceless!!

Passively Earning Free Travel

These are my absolute favorite emails to wake up to! By simply posting amazing travel spots on my Instagram Travel Account I have earned several free stays with Airbnb. I love to look up new places to travel and add to my mile-long Bucket List. I share these photos and my Airbnb Referral Link and viola! Free Travel Credits with Airbnb. I love to connect with other travel lovers & feel good about introducing others to the program and that they get to travel at a discounted rate. Total win-win. 


The most lucrative way to earn with Airbnb is obviously to rent out space in your home.  When thinking about becoming an Airbnb host, you should decide if you see this more as a side-hustle or a fully-fledged business. On average, Airbnb hosts see returns of about $1000 per month, but those numbers vary, as there are large fluctuations in pricing.  Factors such as location and amount of space being rented greatly impacts the rent price.

If you are renting an “entire  place” (even if it only your loft or basement apartment) I would expect to see returns well over the $1000 mark. For an entire house I would expect at least double that figure, depending on location, quality of rental, etc. If you’re only renting private rooms, expect a bit less (unless you have several rooms to rent).

It has become popular to specifically buy or lease a number of apartments or homes and rent them out full time, creating huge amounts of income. Where we live in Southsea, England there are several Superhosts who have bought up multiple properties in the area. They host as a full time gig (with great income!) and love every minute of it. 

Other potential hosts may just have a spare room, unused lower level, Mother-In-Law suite or apartment over the garage that they are looking to rent out. All types of listings are welcome on Airbnb. With millions of different travelers that have different needs and tastes, there’s really something for everyone.

Even if you don’t have space IN your house, keep reading, there’s some still some  surprising earning potential there!

Think Outside the Box:
How you can rent with Airbnb without a house

A great example of this is a former colleague of mine who was spending every weekend at her boyfriend’s house. She made the super smart decision to list her cute little flat on the weekends only. She makes enough just renting 7-8 nights a month to cover her full rent AND utilities. She is now able to save and is looking to purchase her own place soon to continue to grow her income with Airbnb. 

Free accommodations for sharing your space when you don’t need it. This a win-win and a true testament to the power of the sharing community.

In my hometown of Seattle I actually saw a “Gravel Pad” with No hook-ups,  no amenities, no access to the bathroom–nothing. It was truly a just a gravel pad to park your RV on. It going for $65 a night. And it was getting booked regularly! 

This is a fantastic example of them leveraging what they had. They didn’t have space in the house, or the desire to host, but they are still pulling in a tidy sum on Airbnb each month by allowing people to park on their property.

I also have a friend who joked, “With the housing prices the way they are, I could charge for a tent in the backyard!” As a laugh she put up a simple camping tent in her backyard this summer, with an air mattress and a little fire pit area with chairs. Her spot was booked almost immediately and she started making $40-55/night! Granted, that was in the summer & in a very expensive housing market, but as you can see, the potential is there. You can make fantastic income with Airbnb without even having a home to put them in!

If you’re curious about how much you can really earn by becoming an Airbnb host, click the link below. Simply plug in your location (or allow it to detect), add the number of guests you can host, and how much of your home you can rent out on Airbnb. On the spot they’ll show you an average going rate for your area, to help you decide if you’d be interested in boosting your income.

Consider Making a Real Estate Investment

For more than a decade, short-term home rentals such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO have helped homeowners squeeze some serious cash out of their houses—whether families renting out their spare bedrooms or investors offering up multiple properties in prime tourist neighborhoods. Short-term rentals have not only changed the tourism landscape, but real estate as well.

Investing in real estate has always been seen as a pretty safe long-term investment. Home prices typically vastly increase in value, and you are paying your own mortgage off rather than someone else’s. With the advent of Airbnb and the like, your average person is now able to purchase a home and quickly pay down their mortgage by renting out all or a portion of the home.

This is where leveraging other people’s money can come into play. You secure the house by getting a bank loan, then repay the loan using other people’s money. If you want to grow or upscale your business or investment you need the help of other people. You can’t do everything alone (nor should you–leverage others whenever possible!) You will need their money, time, expertise & contacts. Follow informative hosting sites such as this one, do your research, and find that “just right” fit that will help you achieve your financial freedom.

Many of the world’s richest investors never use their own money. Most large scale business owners don’t work the daily grind, yet they employ thousands. This is an example of how other people can be utilized to fulfill one person’s vision. We want you to be leveraging other people to achieve your dreams. Do you dream of working from home? Having a secure future? A paid off house? Traveling the world?

These are typically the top things most people are longing for. We’re here to tell you it’s entirely possible to achieve those dreams.

Location, Location, Location

If you have the means to purchase a home to rent out, you will want to think about it as a business more than a home. What can you do to maximize potential? Is the house laid out well for multiple renters, or is it a space that you would rent out entirely as a destination? Would people WANT to stay there? Finding a great deal on a home in the middle of nowhere typically won’t do you much good.

The obvious exception to this would be if it was a cabin or home designed to be a retreat or similar. You definitely will find the crowd who just want to “get away from it all”. With a new poll showing that a staggering 85% of people “hate” their jobs, this is probably more people than you realize!

Having a place a bit farther out, but with stunning landscapes or outdoor activities would still be a destination. The key to attracting your perfect renters will be in showcasing the benefits of the seclusion. Shots of roasting marshmallows, a cozy bed with candles or twinkle lights really give you the sense of peace that comes with the space. Include sunsets and sunrises as well as morning coffee in an idyllic setting. Great pictures will really help sell the “feel” of the space and get them daydreaming about relaxing there. Pictures like these are what get you onto “Wish Lists”, which is where you want to be!

A random house in an outlying suburb probably won’t get you too many renters, so be very conscious of location when house hunting. Typically people are looking for places that are near attractions, such as beaches, golfing, theme parks, etc. University towns are usually a good investment, as they always have a flow of students coming in, as well as visitors and Alumni for big games. You will also find many renters who just want a place near the airport. Just make sure that your place has a draw before you purchase.

Go Part-Time

While we personally recommend booking your short-term rental as much as possible, some areas have put limits on the number of nights you can rent out in a year. As with any business venture or investment, make sure you do your research before purchasing a home, or renting out one that already own. Always do your due-diligence and always  read the fine print.

Thankfully there is a lucrative way to get around imposed limitations on short-term rentals.  If there is a cap on the total amount of days you can rent your property out on short-term rental platforms, this may be a way to still get the best of both worlds.

If you’re in an area that has a large student population, you can offer a 9-month lease. This is a highly sought-after lease length with college kids.  Most students will either go home for the summer months or have internships in other parts of the country. By offering a shorter lease that fulfills their needs, you will be able to charge a premium. In addition, you will already have furniture in place for short-term rentals in the off months. By renting the place out furnished you are also able to charge a higher monthly rent. 

If you don’t happen to be in where there is a student population a 6-9 month lease on your place is still an option. Often times people relocate to new areas and need an interim place, or go to a city for a short time such as travelling on a visa. Many tenants LOVE this option as they wouldn’t need to pay the costs of buying and moving large pieces of furniture.

Purchasing a Home as a Short-Term Rental

When you buy an investment property, you will generally put about 20% down. Provided that you have the down payment and ability to secure a mortgage, this would be the typical route to home ownership. If you do have the means, this is a great option, as you won’t be paying extra insurance on the loan, and will have more letting options available to you. Conventional mortgages, like the traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage, usually require at least a 5% down payment. 

If you want to apply for a mortgage as a primary resident and it is your first home,  you may qualify for an FHA loan. With an approved FHA loan you could get a down payment as low as 3.5% . This works extremely well if you want to maximize your return by living in one room and leasing out the others. You can use an FHA loan  for a property up to 4 units.

Leveraging Resources

By leveraging your debt capacity, you will be able to effectively invest more money than you would otherwise be able to. In turn, you can start making money faster than you ever thought possible.

When I was in college my friend’s dad bought a house and rented it out to him and five of his friends. By the time they finished college the mortgage was nearly 100% paid off, and the dad gifted the house to my friend (what an incredible graduation gift!) . This is when I first realized exactly how profitable renting space and leveraging could be!

High potential revenue – The potential income of a short-term rental is significantly higher than a traditional renter. Often times you can make in one week, or weekends alone what you would on a full month of traditional rent. If you’re able to correctly operate your business your return will be magnitudes higher than a traditional lease.

Low fluctuation in revenue– A common misconception many new hosts is that there is a huge risk when it comes to making money, especially in the beginning. Short-term rentals are typically a less risky route than traditional leases. If you price your listing correctly your average occupancy will not fluctuate too much throughout the year. With a traditional lease, if you are unable to rent out the property for a month you will lose 1/12 of your yearly income and have to pay the mortgage out of pocket.  A light month on Airbnb would typically result in about a 10% loss in your monthly income, which is much more manageable.

Less damage and wear on your property – That’s right, LESS wear and tear. The reason being; short-term rentals means your property is constantly being turned over. Any damage will be immediately identified and sorted out through you and the guest. The guests do not stay long enough to inflict sustained damage such as mold from improper ventilation, or people who allow their pets &/or children to trash the place. Any small damage is settled between the host and the guest or by the Host Guarantee, which covers you up to 1 million dollars in property damage.

Find out what your space is worth

Airbnb makes it simple to list your place, reach millions of guests, and earn extra income.

We hope this article has convinced you to consider becoming an Airbnb host. There is unlimited opportunity for financial freedom in hosting short-term rentals. Sometimes you just have jump into a new opportunity and take a risk. The sharing economy is here to stay and we want you to join us in this exciting adventure.

In our opinion it is truly one of the best side-hustles out there. It’s easy to start making money with Airbnb, and it has the enormous potential to truly be life-changing. If you are currently an Airbnb Host we would love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or contact us if you’d like to be featured in one our posts. We’d love to see and share your “just right” space!

Renting with Airbnb can be an incredible way to boost your income,
pay down your mortgage faster or take those trips you’ve always dreamed of.

Top Articles on Hosting:

Ten years ago we started Airbnb. Joe and I couldn’t pay rent, so we created the first AirBed & Breakfast and invited three people we’d never met to stay in our home. People said our idea would never work – “Strangers will never trust one another!” A decade later, people have checked into an Airbnb nearly 300 million times.
Brian Chesky
Airbnb Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Community

Ever dreamed of travelling for FREE??

By inviting your own group of people, such as friends and family, on Airbnb, you too could earn thousands of dollars of Airbnb referral credits and start traveling for free! Once you open your account using my Airbnb referral link, Airbnb will provide your own referral link.  It’s located at the top right of your Airbnb screen in the dropdown menu. 

You can send your link to your friends and family via email, text, whatsapp or messenger. You can also share your link through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well. If you have a website or blog you can post your link there with content, or even start a Travel Instagram page.

Travel Discounts are the BEST

Are you looking for an Airbnb Coupon or Discount Code? If so, here’s my Airbnb referral link which will give you a rebate on your first trip as a Guest. Congratulations on booking your first trip! We started using Airbnb years ago when traveling, and never looked back. We love that home away from home feel.

As a new Airbnb user, you will not only get a handsome discount of your first trip, but you could be earning travel credits as well! Once on board, take advantage of Airbnb’s awesome referral system, which could make you earn you as much as $5,000 USD in Airbnb travel credits overall. 

By inviting your own group of people, such as friends and family, on Airbnb, you too could earn thousands of dollars of Airbnb referral money and the people you invite will also get Airbnb travel credits. Once you open your account using my Airbnb referral link, Airbnb will provide your own referral link.  It’s located at the top right of your Airbnb screen in the drop-down menu. 

You can send your link to your friends and family via email, text, whatsapp or messenger. You can also share your link through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well. If you have a website or blog you can post your link there with content, or like I said, I also have my link on my Travel Instagram page.

When your someone uses your link, they will receive credit that will automatically apply towards their first reservation with Airbnb. Meaning, the credit will show up automatically on the checkout page of any qualifying reservation.

When your friend completes their first qualifying reservation, you’ll earn travel credit to use for your own Airbnb reservations.

You will receive your travel credit after the departure date of your friend’s trip. I’m always so excited when an email comes through that says “Congratulations, your friend just completed their trip and you earned $25!” It’s the BEST feeling.

The thing I love most about Airbnb’s referral program is that for each person you refer, there are actually two opportunities for you to earn travel credit: you earn credits when your friend completes a qualifying reservation as a Guest and also when they complete a qualifying reservation as a Host.

To qualify, a reservation usually needs to have a total value of $75 USD or more, excluding guest fees and any taxes. These amounts may vary during promotional periods. Your available travel credits automatically appear as a coupon on the checkout page of your reservation request. If the travel credits aren’t automatically added, it means the reservation doesn’t qualify.

Be advised that travel credits can’t apply to a trip that has already been paid for, but they will be available and applied to your next qualifying reservation. So get booking that next trip!  They expire one year from the date they’re issued and can only be used once. They’re also not reusable if you cancel a reservation where the credits were applied.

Check out our recent and pending travel credits. Nearly $1000 earned in a few months just by sharing my link and love of Airbnb.
We usually let them stack up, then plan a super awesome trip. It’s always good to have something on the horizon to look forward to!

Where to next?

Currently deciding between Paris & Prague, (I want Paris, he wants Prague) TBH I’ll be thrilled either way;)

No matter the destination, the accommodations will be free and that’s AMAZING!