Airbnb is great. It offers an opportunity to stay in unique places, often times at a cheaper price than a hotel. In addition, if you rent a private room you have access to hosts who are experts in the area. Airbnb is most common in large cities, offering an overwhelming amount of options. These bigger cities also tend to have reputable hosts with many reviews which can make you confident that your stay will be pleasant.
I first used Airbnb when I was in Belgium last year and had a great experience. While we were gone, it turned out that our roommate moved out which meant that we would no longer have the extra income to help with expenses. Since I live in a small and an affordable area it’s quite hard to find a quality roommate. That’s when I decided to try Airbnb, but could Airbnb work in a smaller city?
One of the benefits of where we live is that it is a tourist destination in winter which means there is certainly a hotel market in the city.I looked online and there were very few options for Airbnb in our city and of those that did exist, many did not appeal to the vacationer that I was trying to attract. Our home features two guest bedrooms along with a private bathroom all downstairs which makes it ideal for us and the guests we host.
It turns out that even though I’m capturing a tiny fraction of people who come to our area and actually check Airbnb there were enough people to make a decent amount of cash over winter. I took some quality pictures and created a Airbnb page specifically tailored to the people I was trying to attract…and it worked. I’ve hosted 6 times (one person came 3 times) with most coming to enjoy what our city has to offer. I had one person visit us before Christmas who didn’t even stay the night. He was simply seeking a reliable Wifi connection as his parents who he was visiting for the holidays did not have high speed internet. He was a great person to talk to and worked quietly for 3 days at our kitchen table.
We charge $80 per night on weekends plus a $10 cleaning fee. For each guest past two it is an extra $10 per person. I made sure to keep our prices inline with what a hotel might charge all while aiming to provide a better experience than a hotel. We often had guests who were younger and brought a friend which meant the two private bedrooms were exactly what they are looking for. Plus, we offer WiFi and there is plenty of space for our guests to relax. The feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive and I now have a perfect 5 star rating on Airbnb.
The bottom line is that Airbnb can work in smaller cities and you never know who might be looking for a place to stay. It doesn’t hurt to at least put up a posting. Now let’s look at how much I actually made.
Although my income is technically less than what it would have been if we had a roommate, people only stay a night or two on the weekends which means I still have my privacy a majority of the time. Below are my net earnings after Airbnb fees sorted by type of reservation.
- WiFi Reservation (didn’t spend the night): $126
- One night reservations (3): $247
- Two night reservations (2): $369
- Total Airbnb income: $742
Do you have any questions about putting your home up on Airbnb? Share your experience or ask any questions in the comments below.