When you think of a typical Airbnb host, someone with a spare room in their house may come to mind — someone who's perhaps just looking to make some extra cash. And about 80 percent of Airbnb owners fit that bill. But some have taken Airbnb ownership to the extreme, raking in millions of dollars each year from their multiple listings.
In London, there are currently 57,475 Airbnb listings available — meaning this man owns 1.5 percent of the city’s Airbnb market. AirDNA estimates that 24 percent of Airbnb hosts in London have multiple listings across the city.
Another extreme example is a man who made $15.4 million through his 504 properties in Bali. Last year, a report from Forbes said that 75 people in the U.S. made more than a million dollars from their Airbnb listings. That's about one out of every 3,850 people.
AirDNA says this trend is growing — but people aren’t becoming overnight millionaires from the scheme.
“We’re seeing traditional property management companies operating as many as 1,000 listings,” AirDNA CEO Scott Shatford told The Telegraph. “These numbers don’t show a multimillionaire sitting on a gold mine. These are businesses that have emerged in this new economy, with hundreds of employees, managing other people’s second homes.”
Because it’s impossible for one man to operate almost 900 properties on his own, multiple owners are setting up their own businesses. There are even services to help people set up their own Airbnb management companies.
For those who choose Airbnb as a way to meet locals, this is a disconcerting trend. Travelers who want a one-on-one connection with their host should scour Airbnb before booking and ensure that their host only has one or a few listings. Otherwise the stay could quickly start to resemble something like a hotel.