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Wednesday Jun 01, 2016

Money can be made hosting Airbnb guests

Airbnb hosts, especially in Cape Town, can take full advantage of the city being the country's top tourism destination - and boost their annual income by more than R28 000.

Airbnb, the world's leading community-driven hospitality company, highlighted new data yesterday about the positive impacts of the growing Airbnb community.

This is the first data release on the Airbnb community in the country and shows the typical local Airbnb host who occasionally shares space in their home boost their yearly income by more than R28 000.

Founded in 2008 and based in San Francisco, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world, online or from a cellphone phone.

Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34 000 cities and 190 countries.

And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetise their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

Nicola D'Elia, general manager for Africa and the Middle East at Airbnb, highlighted how Airbnb helps spread benefits to new communities and local businesses.

"Airbnb is good news for everyone, providing an economic boost for thousands, helping them make ends meet and support their families by hosting on Airbnb," D'Elia said.

She said, for example, 27 percent of visitors to Cape Town said they would not have stayed as long if it hadn't been for Airbnb.

"Half of those guests spend more money in local shops and restaurants, often following their hosts' recommendations.

Even if it is just for a night, staying with local hosts will allow visitors to really live there."

Tim Harris, chief executive at Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, said the region was a world-class tourism destination.

Last year there were 7 500 active hosts in South Africa and almost half were freelancers, entrepreneurs, or self-employed, which is the same number that say welcoming guests helps them afford to stay in their home - 66 percent of hosts share space in their primary residence.

Driven by a new-experience led economy where people place greater value on experiences over ownership has changed the way people travel.

More than 130 000 guests have stayed in a listing on Airbnb in South Africa in the last year, enjoying authentic and local travel experiences through their hosts' hospitality and insider knowledge.

This represents a 250 percent increase in travellers on Airbnb compared to 2014.

The average age of hosts are 44 years old, with 36 percent over 50, and guests 37 on average.

The data also showed that 134 000 guests used Airbnb to visit the country in the past year while 99 000 citizens used Airbnb for their travels.

The average host rating by guests was 4.7 out of 5.

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