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The growing popularity of Airbnb for the over 60s

According to Airbnb, senior hosts receive better reviews than any other age group, with 85% boasting five-star ratings. Picture: Supplied.

According to Airbnb, senior hosts receive better reviews than any other age group, with 85% boasting five-star ratings. Picture: Supplied.

Published Oct 3, 2018


Many older people around the world are opting to use or create a space in their homes to earn an income into their retirement years. New statistics released by Airbnb show that more people over 60 are choosing to share their homes on the platform.

Adults aged 60 and older are the fastest-growing and highest rated host demographic on the Airbnb platform. In fact, there are now over 400 000 hosts over the age of 60 on Airbnb worldwide. In the last year, these hosts earned upwards of $2 billion, with over 13.5 million guests from more than 150 countries staying at their listings.

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According to Airbnb, these hosts are also the “most loved” ‒ receiving better reviews than any other age group, with 85% boasting five-star ratings.

Older adults have taken to Airbnb in recent years to utilise unused space in their homes, to meet new people and learn about different cultures, or as an additional source of income or to supplement their pensions. The year-on-year growth for senior South African becoming hosts is 39.37%  - making them the fastest growing host age group in the local market.

Local hosts, Sid and Rahel Kahn had a spare room under their house in Port Elizabeth, which they originally used as a playroom and later fitted out for their son to live in. After he moved out, the couple used it when friends came to stay.

“We had a friend and her husband visiting from Cape Town. She looked at the room and said we should think about using it as a B&B,” explained Sid.

They started hosting guests at Guineafowl Inn in the 90s when they retired, relying mostly on word of mouth and referrals but signed up with Airbnb late last year to try and attract more business.

The well-equipped, private guest suite overlooks Port Elizabeth's Baakens River Valley and is located near many local amenities. 

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The Kahns have had return visitors on holiday every year. 

Operating through Airbnb, they have seen a gradual increase in business and had travellers from Germany, Sweden, France, England, and from across South Africa visit.

Mariette, an over-70 host from Cape Town, has noted that hosting on Airbnb has allowed her and her husband to meet interesting people from around the world.

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Globally, the over-60s group of guests are also setting records as the fastest-growing of any age group using Airbnb, with the number of seniors booking accommodation through the site growing by 66% in the past year. It is also worth noting that South Africa has one of the highest proportion of over-60s who travel with Airbnb.

Other South African highlights include the fact that Ballitoville in KwaZulu-Natal is one of the top trending destinations for seniors around the world.

Senior guests are also leading a new trend of multi-generational family travel through Airbnb. Many multi-generational families are using the platform owing to the wide variety of accommodation options available, often providing amenities perfectly suited to family travel. Multi-generational family travel bookings have grown 75% in the past year. More than half of these new bookings in 2018 were by first-time bookers.

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