With the cost of living still stubbornly high for many in the US, Americans are turning to alternative income streams for some relief. Every day it seems social media is awash with new suggestions for potential solutions for passive income generation, and Airbnb provides a great option for those wanting an additional source of income.
In fact, the majority of Airbnb Hosts in the US use the money they earn from sharing their space on Airbnb to help cover high costs1. According to a recent survey, 65 percent of US-based Hosts said they plan to use the money they earn on Airbnb to cover the heightened cost of living in the next 12 months.
The top-opportunity cities to host in the US
Prospective Airbnb Hosts frequently ask us what cities offer the best opportunity to earn and the truth is, demand for travel is high across the world. In fact, we expect 300 million guest arrivals this year. To offer further clarity, we’ve dug deeper and looked at our data to find the top-opportunity places to host in the US right now2.
We’ve also identified some of our top new Airbnb Hosts in these cities and asked them to share their story and advice for those considering hosting3:
“The Windy City,” home of the Magnificent Mile, a big shiny bean, 22 miles of stunning Lake Michigan shoreline and world-famous restaurants and bars. It’s no surprise that people would want to travel to this stunning city – which means there is ample opportunity to earn some additional money by becoming a Host on Airbnb. Last year Hosts in Chicago earned over $140 million with the typical Airbnb Host earning approximately $18,5004.
Top new Airbnb Host in Chicago:
Jacob hosts this listing near the West Loop neighborhood.
- Occupation: Real Estate agent
- Reason for hosting: “I wanted to invest in my community and show visitors how great our city of Chicago is!”
- What the income means to him: “It’s been an amazing source of income. It’s essentially paid for a significant part of my mortgage.”
- Keys to quick success as a Host: “Putting in the extra effort to make the unit a “home” versus an “investment property” I tried to go above and beyond the basics and provided high end amenities to the property.”
- Advice for others considering hosting: “Put yourself in the guests shoes and give them the experience you would want to have when visiting a new city.”
“The Mile High City”, home of Red Rocks, a newly-crowned championship basketball team, year-round outdoor activities and endless places to explore. Denver offers travelers so much, and in turn, is a top-opportunity place to host on Airbnb. Last year, Hosts in Denver earned over $115 million, with the typical Host earning over $18,000.
Top new Airbnb Host in Denver
Aleah hosts the Cholla House listing in the Five Points neighborhood.
- Occupation: Works for the Telluride Film Festival
- Reason for hosting: “The layout of our house provided the potential to create an entirely separate studio apartment space. We love hosting friends and family in our space and hosting with Airbnb seemed like a natural evolution. We also frequently use Airbnb as travelers—we love the human aspect of the platform and the creative spaces you can find to rent!”
- Keys to quick success as a Host: “Cholla House is a very curated space. We are very intentional about every detail in the decor and the products we provide our guests. We fill the space with items we personally love to create an exceptional experience. (E.g., Casper mattress and sheets, Public Goods soap, shampoo & conditioner, local honey and locally roasted coffee.) Also, the location of the can’t be beat!”
- Advice for others considering hosting: “Being mindful of the design of the space is very important. Creating a thoughtful space that is welcoming, relaxing and has character is probably the first and most important step. Being an informed and involved host is also vital! Hosting has inspired us to try new restaurants and experiences in Denver to remain an informed and helpful hosts to our guests. When someone asks what the best Vietnamese restaurant in the area is or your favorite neighborhood bar, you want to be prepared with a personal recommendation.”
San Diego, CA
It’s nicknamed “America’s Finest City,” for a reason – pristine beaches, phenomenal weather and restaurant options galore, San Diego offers travelers an escape that’s unlike many other places in the US. It allows it to provide a lot of opportunity for prospective Airbnb Hosts. Last year, Hosts in San Diego earned over $350 million, with the typical Host earning over $20,000.
Top new Airbnb Hosts in San Diego
Emma and Jordan host this listing, three blocks from the beach in San Diego.
- Occupation: Emma is a nurse at a children’s hospital and Jordan is a supply chain consultant.
- Reason for hosting: “We were renting nearby and loved the community so much that we wanted to settle down here. Purchasing a home in San Diego is expensive, but hosting on Airbnb allows us to offset our mortgage and meet some really cool people along the way.”
- What the income means to them: “The income we earn from hosting on Airbnb helps us make our mortgage payment each month.”
- Keys to quick success as a Host: “We try to make every interaction personal, and we think that shows in our listing and messages with guests. Our community is special to us and we are excited to share it. We genuinely enjoy hosting people and can’t wait to recommend our favorite restaurants and spots.”
- Advice for others considering hosting: “Do your research! There are so many resources out there to help new hosts. In our opinion, the most important part of stress free hosting is having 2-3 excellent cleaning companies. They make sure each new guest arrives at a sparkling clean home. This is a huge weight off our shoulders and we don’t know what we’d do without them!”
Los Angeles, CA
“The City of Angels,” amusement parks, beaches, hikes, Hollywood – there is truly no city like LA and because of its uniqueness, it offers ample opportunity for those considering hosting. Last year, Hosts in Los Angeles earned over $375 million, with the typical Host earning over $24,000.
Top new Airbnb Host in Los Angeles
Alissa hosts the Tree House Getaway listing in the Hollywood Hills.
- Occupation: Entrepreneur
- Reason for hosting: “LA is an expensive city to buy a home in. I was motivated to host on AirBnB as a way to generate passive income to offset the costs associated with home ownership. And I also really love my neighborhood. It’s steeped in Hollywood history and is a unique mix of nature and city. I love that I can share this little enclave with others. It really is a magical area that people may not otherwise ever get to experience.”
- What the income means to them: “It’s allowed me to travel more. And have less anxiety about financing my home and covering the bills. It’s easy to target earnings and update pricing based on demand.”
- Keys to quick success as a Host: “I focused on highlighting my property’s unique features (such as access to nature 5 minutes from Hollywood Blvd & a dreamy, enclosed patio with beautiful foliage), and did everything within my power to generate great reviews by being communicative and ensuring a clean and comfortable rental that guests would enjoy and seek to revisit. I travel a lot and use Airbnb myself 90% of the time. I know what I like, and what I don’t in a rental and created a space I would want to stay in.”
- Advice for others considering hosting: “Follow the city’s home sharing rules, stick with Airbnb as they make collecting & remitting occupancy taxes a breeze, communicate with your neighbors, and set clear expectations with guests. Make your listing truthful & accurate. Ensure house rules are clear and communicated. And when in doubt, over communicate. Airbnb has platform tools that allow for automated messages that make guests feel the love and make your job as a host easy.”
Sevierville + Smoky Mountains, TN
It’s hard to compete with the scenic, natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains and Sevierville sit at their northern base, with quick access to Smoky Mountain National Park and Douglas Lake, Sevierville offers ample opportunity for those considering hosting on Airbnb, with the typical Airbnb Host earning nearly $20,000 last year.
Top new Airbnb Host in Sevierville
Ben hosts this Modern Cabin listing in Sevierville.
- Occupation: Head of IT Operations
- Reason for hosting: “I was always interested in purchasing a timeshare but was of the opinion that they weren’t the best investment, at least not for me. I also wanted a place to take the family on vacation and have always loved Tennessee and what better place than the Smokies! Airbnb checked the boxes: We get to use it and rent it out the rest of the year.”
- What the income means to them: “The income from hosting on Airbnb has been reinvested back into the property. When I purchased it, there were some deferred maintenance items that needed to be addressed and it was in desperate need of interior renovations. Taking care of the property is in my opinion one of the most important things you can do to maintain guest satisfaction.”
- Keys to quick success as a Host: “Staying in my property and communicating constantly with my partners, the number one partner being my cleaners. Having a good relationship with your partners is key to being successful, pay them on time, treat them with respect and realize nobody is perfect and be understanding when something doesn’t necessarily go according to plan. Don’t be afraid to talk to guests, be available for them and try to put yourself in their shoes if you feel they are. being unreasonable. Customer service is the name of the game! ”
- Advice for others considering hosting: “I say go for it but don’t expect being a Host to be completely hands off and expect the unexpected. Do you enjoy talking to people? Do you like the area you are hosting in and is it a place you like to visit? Periodically stay in your property. You will notice deficiencies others won’t. If you self manage and don’t live close to your Airbnb property, make sure you have good “boots on the ground”. Treat them as partners because they play a big part in your success as you do theirs. Be customer service focused. You will at some point run into an issue whether it be an internet outage, the door lock not working or something else completely out of your control. It’s all how you handle the situation that determines the outcome. I’m adding another property in a different market though so need I say more!”
Every Host’s experience hosting is unique. Host booking numbers may vary widely depending on many factors, including availability, price, acceptance and cancellation rates, and the demand in the listing location.
All listings included in this release are intended to inspire and illustrate. Airbnb does not endorse or promote these listings or any other accommodations or experiences on the platform.