Scott Schober makes a living as an Airbnb host.
The 37-year-old from Dallas started in 2015 with his first property and that has since blossomed into an adventure he didn’t know he wanted to do.
Schober enjoyed the experience and profited so much, he quit his job. Today, he owns five North Texas properties that he rents out on the home-rental platform.
“I love it,” said Schober, who used to work as a humanitarian aid coordinator at Buckner International. “I feel like it connects me with people that come into Dallas for a variety of reasons (and they get) to see what the city is really like.”
And it’s not just Schober, who said he’s pocketed around $75,000.
For new Airbnb hosts in Texas, the gig was pretty profitable last year. Texas ranked third in the U.S. for new host income – $170 million in 2021, according to Airbnb.
Across the globe, Airbnb hosts have earned $150 billion since the website’s founding in 2008, including $60 billion in the U.S.
New hosts in Dallas County earned over $15.5 million in 2021.
After the pandemic temporarily halted travel, Schober was nervous about where travelers would prefer to book their stay, but he found many went to Airbnbs rather than traditional hotels. That’s when he noticed an uptick in the gig’s pay.
Since then, he said, travel has slowed, but travelers are still booking stays.
“It’s a huge source of income that I rely on and everything got canceled,” Schober said. “So it was a little scary.”
The demand for places to stay is still there, said Samuel Randall, senior communications manager at Airbnb.
Natalia Sutin, vice president of revenue management for vacation rental company Vacasa, agrees that travelers will still seek interesting rentals. Portland-based Vacasa operates in 400 vacation rental destinations in North America, Belize and Costa Rica.
“As COVID-19 case counts continue to drop, we expect demand to remain high as people revisit vacations, family events and celebrations, as well as large-scale entertainment activities like concerts and festivals,” Sutin said.
Over the last year, San Francisco-based Airbnb reduced its host onboarding process to just 10 steps, Randall said. The company also introduced AirCover, a top-to-bottom $1 million liability insurance and damage protection for hosts.
Airbnbs and similar vacation stays have been the bane of neighborhoods located near sports or entertainment venues. Listings in Arlington, for example, have drawn house party noise complaints around Dallas Cowboys games or beer festivals at Texas Live.
Airbnb put tighter rental policies in place to counter house party rentals. In 2020, it said U.S. renters under the age of 25 who have less than three positive reviews or a negative review will be restricted from booking entire homes in areas close to where they live. Otherwise, Airbnb’s age limit is 18.
It’s a situation that Schober believes is under control. He said Airbnb also added technology features for hosts to ensure that neighborhoods aren’t disturbed. Hosts can use a data analytics program that watches for guests that may throw a party, he said.
“A lot of the party house situations that you hear about are actually older situations that people keep bringing up,” Schober said. “Airbnb has actually already come in and shut these people down. So I think they’re doing a really good job.”
Airbnb has over four million hosts across over 220 countries and regions.
For Schober, the experience as a host is the gift that keeps on giving. He’s met and heard stories from people all over the country. During the 2021 winter freeze, which cost the lives of nearly 250 Texans and left many without power, Schober hosted two parents and their baby at one of his Airbnb locations.
“I was just grateful that I had the opportunity to host a place where they could come in and stay to be safe and warm,” Schober said.