Empty Nest Rethink

The commercials are everywhere — large families, friends, singles, and couples having the time of their lives in Airbnb or VRBO rentals. But what those commercials don’t show are the hosts — the people whose homes are serving as those rentals. And the fastest growing segment of Airbnb hosts are people over age 60. What’s more, the growth is spurred on by women — 64 percent of all senior hosts on Airbnb are women!

With the pandemic, the demand for Airbnb rentals soared, these units being seen as safe alternatives to crowded city life and hotels with too many strangers. The CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, said in 2021, “To meet the demand over the coming years, we’re going to need millions more hosts.” The home-sharing platform now reports that it more has 4 million hosts.

Why Become an Airbnb Host?

Some baby boomers looking to age in place find themselves without the necessary income or energy to maintain their beloved home. Others would love to travel, but while they have the income to live comfortably at home, they don’t have the extra money for travel. Serving as an Airbnb host — by opening up empty rooms, a second home, or even a primary residence while the owner is traveling — can bring the needed income to age in place, travel, or even visit out-of-town relatives and friends a little more often. Recent Airbnb surveys show that a typical senior Airbnb host earns around $7,000 or more a year.

There are many other reasons to become an Airbnb host. As Guest Ready reports, many people over 60, particularly those who have lost a spouse, may feel lonely and isolated in their home, even though they’d like to age in place. Airbnb hosting provides the opportunity to interact with people from across the globe. Additionally, most guests appreciate the local guidance an Airbnb host can provide — from which restaurants are the best, to the location of the nearest nature preserve.

Baby Boomers Make the Best Airbnb Hosts

Airbnb Citizen’s survey also found that seniors — and particularly senior women —  are the best hosts in the United States, providing better experiences for their guests and garnering the most 5-star ratings. This isn’t surprising, says Guest Ready, for three main reasons:

  • Attention to detail — People over 60 generally have more time to be great hosts. Whether it’s a welcome cake on the table or fresh flowers in a vase by the door, thoughtful touches help make a successful Airbnb business.
  • “House proud” and conscientious about levels of cleanliness — partially because often it’s their own home.
  • Warm Welcome — Most older adult hosts have not only the time to greet guests, but to give them a warm welcome. Being personable wins stars!

But What About Safety?

Some seniors are concerned about their physical safety, e.g., being robbed or having their property damaged. Different hosting companies have different protocols in place to ensure host and guest safety, with Airbnb consistently rated as one of the most trusted holiday rental companies in the world. All Airbnb guests go through a verification process and undergo identity checks. Additionally, reviews left online can add security for a host, which can choose to accept bookings only from guests who consistently receive good reviews.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Don’t “experiment” with strangers in your home. It’ not worth the risk!  Two approaches to consider when repurposing the Empty Nest:

Join a ‘peer-to-peer’ club  — The Freebird Club is a social travel and home-stay club for the over 50s. It enables members to travel and stay with fellow members who have opted to make their spare rooms available for a modest nightly rent.

Set up a businessBNB Formula offers the training and materials needed to properly set up a business operation that uses properties owned or rented that are leased out on Airbnb — soup-to-nuts planning and leasing guidance.

The World Opening Up

Airbnb hosting can be the source of income enabling aging-in-place and remaining a vital part of a beloved community. It also can open up the world of travel to hosts. By renting out a property, Airbnb hosting can earn enough income to pay for the hosts’ own travels, enabling hosts to do the traveling they’ve always dreamed of pursuing. What better way to vibrantly engage in Third Chapter Living? Dreams await!

Third Chapter Living celebrates, challenges, informs and promotes conversations about housing issues affecting the Baby Boomer Generation. Check out our website to learn more about our work. Our Facebook Group is a resource center with tips and recommendations on navigating those issues. Share experiences with others who are looking for Housing Downsizing Tools that allow them to successfully age in place.


  1. Mary Ellen Collins on August 28, 2022 at 8:35 am

    I have been an airbnb host for over 5 years now and I love it, except the cost of the house upkeep outweighs the income I receive, so that is a consideration.
    Thank you

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