Celebrating over five years of Airbnb Host Clubs
Spread across 220 countries and regions, the 4 million Hosts on Airbnb are the foundation of our community and our company. Our mission is focused on fostering belonging – especially at a moment in which humanity needs human connection more than ever before. But that feeling of belonging is made possible by Hosts and the unique experiences that Hosts offer guests. It’s what makes Airbnb special and different.
Over five years ago, Airbnb Hosts in San Francisco were faced with a ballot measure that would have severely restricted home sharing, taking away a source of income that has helped them afford to live in a city they love. So, they did what Hosts do best: they formed a community and successfully worked to ensure they could continue to do what they love and share their homes with people from around the world.
That community of Hosts was the Home Sharers Democratic Club, the first Airbnb Host Club, which still exists today.
“When I started hosting, there weren’t many local resources for hosts. There were no books nor online forums where you could learn about hosting, exchange ideas, and help each other out. So, I posted on Craigslist asking if there were other hosts who were interested in getting together to share information about a range of topics like insurance, local zoning laws, and tips like where to buy the best sheets and other supplies. The four people at that first meeting in my living room grew to an online and offline community of thousands. Monthly meetings were attended by 25-30 people.”
Peter Kwan, Airbnb Superhost, Boardmember of Home Sharers Democratic Club and member of the Airbnb Host Advisory Board
We were proud to assist the Host Club in organizing, lobbying and turning out the vote against this ballot measure – and we worked to build on their success. Just after the successful vote in San Francisco in 2015, we announced at a press conference that in collaboration with Hosts, we would launch and support Host Clubs around the world.
Since that time, we’ve announced and supported the launch of Host Clubs in Africa, San Juan, across Latin America, Mexico City, Copenhagen, Vienna – the list goes on. Today, there are more than 300 Host Clubs around the world, proudly supported by Airbnb and made up of Hosts just like those first Hosts in San Francisco, who stood up for their right to home share and earn money to pay their bills.
Who Makes Up Host Clubs
Host Clubs are networks of Airbnb Hosts, guests, small business owners and local community leaders. From teachers to medical workers, and hosts with one listing to hosts with more than one listing, Host Clubs are made up of people from all walks of life who are passionate about their ability to home share and for the direct economic impact it brings to communities.
“I’ve met dozens of hosts in Portland who are just like my wife and me – they love Portland and are cheerleaders for the city. Hosting helps them pay the bills, but they also do it because it gives them an opportunity to show off our city and our state. These are hard working Portlanders who want to make a contribution to our community, and I think it’s important to tell their stories.”
Willy, Airbnb Superhost and Host Club Leader in Portland
In 2017, Hosts in the Western Cape of Africa joined together to launch the continent’s first Host Club in Khayelitsha called Tirisano’s Home Sharing Club. The club was launched by Hosts from underserved communities across the Western Province.
“It is so great for me to be a part of this home sharing club. I just see myself as being a part of the whole world. It’s opened up so many doors and I can already see I have such a bright future. I’m looking forward to seeing our new club grow, to welcoming new people and being able to help different communities.”
Maria, Airbnb Host and member of the Tirisano’s Home Sharing Club
Work Done By Host Clubs
To support other hosts in their own communities, Host Clubs share advice and best practices, meet other like-minded people in the community, support volunteer activity to ensure Airbnb remains an important economic driver in the places they call home and engage as constituents with their local leaders. Since 2016, more than 150,000 Hosts have advocated for their local communities by sending more than 800,000 emails and tweets to their local representatives.
As residents who are sharing their stories with lawmakers, these Host Clubs have been able to make the case for clear and fair short-term rental regulations around the world – including recently in Portland, Long Beach and San Diego.
Host Clubs have also engaged in a range of other activities:
- In Prague, we work with the local Host Club to hold a workshop on responsible hosting.
- In Orlando, we worked with the local Host Club to launch a partnership with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to drive tourism to the region in order to support continued efforts to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
- The Cape Town Home Sharing Club gathered Hosts from across the city to discuss creatives ideas to battle drought-like conditions and gather creative ideas to combat water scarcity, empowering each other to encourage their guests to live like a local.
- The Hobart Host Club in Tasmania organizes regular fairs to allow small businesses in their area to meet hosts, share local products and support their community.
The Community Leaders Team at Airbnb works closely with Host Clubs and is dedicated to empowering Hosts around the world through this work, helping them to connect with their fellow Hosts in their region to collaborate and give back to their local communities. The team consists of 25 people representing 10 countries and eight languages, who guide local Hosts as they build their Host Clubs and develop community programming and resources to provide local Host leaders with tools and inspiration.
Why This Work is More Important Than Ever
Like so many others, our Host community has been affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to new Airbnb data, significant percentages of Homes Hosts have either experienced a pay cut or reduced hours at work themselves.
Many have turned to sharing their homes on Airbnb, which has provided a critical and urgent COVID-19 social safety net to help stay economically afloat in these unprecedented times. New Hosts with only one listing, who welcomed their first guests during the pandemic, have made $1 billion since March 2020. Fifty-five percent of these new Hosts are women, a segment of the population that has been most affected financially by the pandemic, and these Hosts have collectively earned more than $600 million since March 2020.
In the US, these new Hosts have earned an average of $3,900 since the pandemic began, money that is often being used to pay important bills.
We’re incredibly proud of the work we’ve done with Airbnb Host Clubs to advocate for home sharing around the globe. As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, we believe home sharing will be an integral part of the return of the tourism economy.