Business

5 ways to make money with Airbnb

BY DENNISE WILLIAMS
Observer writer

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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Do you have a spare bedroom, an apartment, know someone who wants to bring in short-term rentals without the management headache? Well, the Airbnb opportunity has transformed the short-term rental market in Jamaica in a positive way.

Consider the myriad calendar of events in Jamaica and the number of people who come home for special events, weddings, Christmas and the like, and you can make money as a host.

Alica Lyttle, CEO of POW! Social Media and Internet Income Jamaica, shares her tips on how you can make money on this sharing-economy platform. Unlike cities such as New York and San Francisco that have put restrictions on short-term rental websites, the Government of Jamaica has welcomed Airbnb with open arms.

“On Thursday, August 16, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that Airbnb hosts in Kingston earned over US$2.4 million in 2017. This is a giant step in the right direction for Jamaican entrepreneurs. Airbnb is an online platform based in San Francisco, California, that allows regular people to offer their homes, villas, rooms or unique accommodations to others who are visiting their location for a set price. With Jamaica being a major hub for tourism in the Caribbean, and visitors looking for varying experiences, this market is on an upward trend.” Lyttle explained.

She goes on to share five ways you can take advantage of this boom.

 

1. LIST YOUR PROPERTY ON AIRBNB

Becoming a host is the most common way to earn. This model requires the highest investment, but it yields the largest returns. If you have a vacant home, or if you can afford to purchase a home, you can become an income earner.

For example, I recently purchased a property to list on Airbnb, and the experience has been very rewarding. On average, this property makes over US$4,000 per month just from Airbnb!

 

2. LIST A SPARE ROOM OR TWO

If you don't have an entire home to rent, not to worry, people are also looking for private rooms to rent. This can even be a room in your residential home. Some people have separate living quarters (own bathroom and kitchen), while some hosts simply offer a room.

 

3. WORK OUT A DEAL WITH A LANDLORD

If you know someone listing an accommodation for rent, have a discussion to see if you can get an agreement to rent the space and list it on Airbnb. Give the landlord an additional benefit for allowing you to “sub-lease” it. This could be an additional percentage of profits after the monthly rental is paid.

 

4. CO-HOST ON AIRBNB

Offer your service as a co-host to help other Airbnb hosts with customer service or marketing for their listings. Co-hosting is billed into the Airbnb platform, and you and the property owner will decide on the rate (usually between 10 per cent and 20 per cent) that you will receive for your service. Once the guest pays for the Airbnb booking, the platform will automatically send you your predetermined fee.

 

5. CREATE AN EXPERIENCE

Airbnb does not only provide for home and room rentals, but they also have an option on their site that is called “experiences”. These are experiences/opportunities for enjoyment that visitors can participate in – provided by you, the co-host. For example, if you are a musician, you can host a “Jamaican Music Experience” and take your visitors to a recording studio, have them meet other musicians, and teach them how to play some instruments. For this unique opportunity, you would charge them a flat fee for the day. Alternatively, if you like nightlife, you can create an experience by taking guests to different locations throughout the night.

 

TO GET STARTED

You will need to create an Airbnb account. Choose whether you are listing your property, co-hosting or listing an experience. List your property with your amazing photos and appealing description.

 

HOW DO YOU GET PAID IN JAMAICA?

According to Lyttle, “I recommend that you get a Payoneer card and Airbnb will load your earnings on your card. Other options include Paypal (an international wire transfer) and Western Union. Make sure that your listing stands out. Offer something different, overdeliver on your service and you will do well! Keep in mind that there are other sites like Airbnb such as HomeAway, Innclusive.com, Bookings.com and many others.”

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