Older travellers and hosts are the fastest-growing age group using the online service
By Katrina Caruso
Airbnb, the online service that allows users to host guests in their homes or to book stays in private homes, has reported that the number of people over the age of 60 booking as guests grew by 66% between 2017 and 2018, and that, worldwide, more than 400,000 people over 60 are hosts on the site. As both hosts and guests, seniors are the company’s fastest-growing age group.
People over 60 are leading healthier lives than ever before and that’s reflected in their travel patterns. For example, a study by Bernstein, a UK brokerage firm, showed that more and more seniors are interested in travelling—and for longer periods of time. According to Bernstein’s analysts, travellers 65-plus are responsible for most of the growth in travel spending in the last five years.
If older people are willing to spend more time travelling, it only makes sense that they are looking for ways that they can stay locally in a different city and still feel at home—without having to spend most of their travel budget on hotels. For many, Airbnb, which offers a variety of accommodations and a variety of prices, is a popular option.
Another data point from the research shows that the numbers are on the rise for families with multiple generations travelling together. The site offers host homes that can allow a whole family to stay comfortably under the same roof.
For the hosts, Airbnb can provide a way for those who are financially insecure or on fixed incomes to supplement their income and offset their living expenses or mortgages. In 2017, seniors who hosted guests through the website earned more than $2.6 billion (US). (The site gets a commission on each booking.)
Canadians over 60 can expect to earn almost $7,000 (CDN) annually from hosting Airbnb guests in their homes, depending on their cities and their homes. In Toronto, seniors are the highest earners—they earned an average of $1,800 more in 2017 than the typical Toronto host. In Vancouver, the average senior host makes about $12,000.