Airbnb, an online marketplace and hospitality service, has released their list of the 19 destinations that people should visit in 2019. Photo: File

A challenging economic climate and the steady rise in the cost of living has left many South Africans struggling with their financial obligations. According to Moneyweb, more than one in three South Africans are working second jobs to make ends meet. It is clear that many people are now looking at how to supplement their income in innovative, manageable ways. 

One such way is through Airbnb, a digital platform that enables people across South Africa and worldwide to make some extra money by becoming a host - whether it’s sharing their home with guests from around the world or hosting an experience - for example, leading a cooking class or a walking tour around a township. 

In South Africa, 61% of hosts surveyed by Airbnb report their primary reason for hosting is additional income. Since Airbnb’s founding in 2008, South African hosts on Airbnb have earned nearly $206 million from hosting, with the typical host earning 1 900 USD from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018. These hosts are welcoming guests and showcasing South Africa in a unique way, while earning extra income. Last year, Airbnb reported that approximately half of all the Airbnb hosts in the country are hosting in an effort to supplement their income as a freelancer, part-time worker or stay-at-home parent. And according to the survey, roughly half of hosts across some of the most popular other African countries on Airbnb report that they use this extra income to help make ends meet and afford staying in their homes. 

There are three ways in which one could earn extra income from Airbnb. 

List a spare room or an entire home

Entire homes can be listed on Airbnb, so those who have holiday houses or who are out of their homes for extended periods of time, could offer their homes to potential guests through Airbnb. There are also many people who have spare rooms in their house that stand empty for most of the year. Listing a room on Airbnb could result in extra cash for the homeowner on top of providing an opportunity for locals to meet people from around the world. Interestingly, Airbnb has found that the platform is helping to redefine retirement - providing new ways for retirees to earn extra income, overcome loneliness and isolation, and travel the world in a truly local and authentic way. The home sharing platform has found that the over 60s is the fastest growing age group, both as hosts and guests, and there are now 40% more Airbnb hosts over the age of 60 in SA than a year ago

Share your favourite activity with guests as an Experience host on Airbnb

If you don’t have a spare room or a house to rent, Airbnb Experiences is also an option. Experiences rolled out on a national level in 2017, and now enables anyone from across South Africa to sign up as an Experience host. Experiences are locally led and curated excursions that highlight unique places, spaces and things to do from the perspective of a true local. These experiences can be anything from a walking tour of an area to a dining out experience to a hike or a swim - it’s anything that gives visitors an exciting way to experience a neighbourhood. If you are a passionate home cook or chef, you might consider teaching guests from around the world how to braai. If you’re a history buff or design lover, you might want to give an insider’s tour of your neighbourhood. If you’re a musician, why not put on a music experience in a cool, intimate venue?

Offer to become a co-host

Co-hosts help listing owners take care of their home and guests. A co-host is someone the listing owner already knows, so if you know of a friend, family or neighbour who might need help managing their Airbnb listing, becoming a co-host is an option to consider. The primary host would need to add a co-host to their profile. The co-host then helps with the listing and interact with guests. Hosts and co-hosts agree on who's responsible for what, how much of the reservation income will go to the co-host, and how the co-host will be reimbursed for expenses.

If you are finding yourself a bit cash-strapped this year, then consider sharing your home, hosting an Experience or becoming a co-host on Airbnb in order to supplement your current income.

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