My goal in life is to get paid to drink coffee and I found a way to make this happen.
I recently launched a coffee crawl as an official experience on the Airbnb platform. Tourists (and anyone in general) can sign up to do my coffee tour to drink coffee with me at unique shops in my community.
I’m going to show you how you can make money with Airbnb Experiences (even from your own living room) by setting up your own activity/thing to do on the Airbnb app. I want you to have the best Airbnb experience so that you bring money in from all angles during this global pandemic.
This is the best income source that you’ve likely never heard of yet…
“I really want to start a coffee tour.”
I told many of my friends of a coffee tour that I wanted to start back in 2018. I wanted to show people unique coffee shops in Toronto. I really wanted to start this business. I just never did anything about it because it felt like too much work (most things are fun to talk about). I became one of those people who was all talk and no action. My excuse was that I didn’t know how to launch a coffee tour.
Then one day I figured out how I would bring this idea to life.
I signed up for a “viewpoint lookout” in Costa Rica in February. I wasn’t sure what I was paying for, but the Airbnb mobile app suggested that I go check out a hidden view of the city. It turned out that the view wasn’t all that hidden. We ended up being the only folks on this hike with a tour guide. Our guide Erik, was an awesome dude, but he just showed us a trail for $25. We started talking about hosting an official experience on the walk back. Erik explained to me how experiences are hosted by regular locals.
So when I returned, I stopped making excuses and I finally applied to have my own experience on Airbnb. I was denied. I revised my application and got accepted on the second try.
After 6 weeks of on-the-job-training, I’m convinced that this is the best side hustle out there right now. As of April 2020, Airbnb Experiences went digital so you can make money from anywhere.
I’m going to show you how you can use Airbnb to make money for doing something that you enjoy.
You can check out my YouTube video on making money with Airbnb experiences!
[Use this link to create an Airbnb account. The link comes with free money.]
What’s an Airbnb Experience? What are Airbnb Experiences all about?
According to the official website:
“Airbnb Experiences are activities designed and led by inspiring locals. They go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing guests in each host’s unique world. It’s an opportunity for anyone to share their hobbies, skills, or expertise without needing an extra room.”
Long story short: An Airbnb experience is the suggestions that you get as “things to do” when you travel to a new place. This can be pretty much anything. It’s something to do. It’s something to see.
Experiences vary from walking tours to dancing lessons to drinking coffee with people.
Whenever you go on the Airbnb app, you get a list of things to do. I didn’t realize that anyone could apply to be listed there. Some of the activities are sophisticated systems with established companies. Many of the activities are just regular folks looking to make some money. Some people are just offering to walk with you to the park.
Who can start an experience?
Anyone. All you need is to create an Airbnb account and you’re eligible to apply.
These are all just regular folks!
I have no special skills. All I can offer is the ability to point out cool coffee shops in my community.
If you can do anything cool, teach something, or provide a decent service, you’re set.
What are examples of Airbnb experiences?
I decided to pretend to be a tourist in Toronto on the Airbnb app. I looked through the experiences to find examples of things that can be offered.
Here are some of the categories:
Here are the most popular activities in Toronto.
There’s something interesting about the first one.
Regular activities that I do on a daily basis were experiences going for good money!
Here are some random popular activities that I found on the app:
- Picture taking. Some people charge decent money for something as simple as pictures. My friend is going to Bali next week and he saw an “Instagram photo tour.”
- Walks around town. We love to explore new places. We also are willing to pay someone to show us the hidden gems.
You have to remember that the Airbnb experiences are mainly for tourists. Most of us don’t go on that specific app to look for things to do in our hometown, but when we travel we look up for suggestions.
You can even dig a little deeper if you want to turn this in a serious business. Some of the suggestions below are extended trips where you can charge real money.
One idea that always appears to work is a local food tour.
Check out some of these gems from around the world:
Just for fun I also looked up the most ridiculous Airbnb experiences to prove to you that anything can bring in money. Here they are:
- Bob Ross painting classes.
- Mock job interview at Amazon (it costs $4,600 and is NOT a real job interview).
- Be a mermaid for a day.
- Extract your own DNA into a necklace.
- Learn to eat fire.
You could have pretty much anything as an experience! You can steal something that has already been done. You can steal the Queen West Coffee Crawl concept. You can start a coffee experience in your community.
[You can use my link to save money on your first experience.]
Why should you bother with hosting an experience?
Everything that we discuss on here is about making more money and living a better life. The goal is to find way to make money from your passions/interests.
Here are the main benefits of hosting an experience…
Hosting an experience is a very practical way to bring in some extra cash.
This isn’t some “proven passive income system” nonsense or some freelance gig that will never lead to any money. You get paid after every experience. You get paid for your work. You don’t have to chase anyone for money either.
You meet new people.
I’ve already met friends from around the world. I created a separate Instagram account (follow us on Instagram) for the experience and have stayed in touch with friends from around the world. Your experience will open you up the world. I’ve already been offered a place to crash with friends in Greece, America, and Mexico.
You get paid to do something that you enjoy.
Do you like surfing? What about exploring coffee shops? What about eating food?
You can get paid to do something that you enjoy doing and would do for free. You can apply to have any of your interests as an official Airbnb experience.
Airbnb does the promotion for you.
From what I’ve been able to gather, most people find me because the Airbnb app recommends me as something to do in the city. Airbnb brings you the guests. Most tourists are also on the app. Everyone uses Airbnb these days.
You set the hours.
You get to choose when the experience is offered. If you don’t want to do it, then you don’t do it. This is true self-employment. You dictate when you work. You can bring in extra cash on your weekends or evenings.
Are there any negatives to starting an experience?
The only negatives are:
- You rely on Airbnb. You have to hope that you get promoted in the app and that you land five star reviews. It’s on you to ensure that you deliver the best possible experience. Then you have to hope that Airbnb will promote you. Airbnb takes a 20% cut per experience.
- You rely on reviews. You have to hope that the guests leave you good reviews or else you won’t last long as a host.
- You don’t earn passive income. You have to work for your money. For anyone looking for easy money, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
How do you decide on your experience?
The good news is that pretty much anything can become an experience.
You can be a middle person or liaison if you have nothing original to offer. You really don’t have to reinvent the wheel here.
I would start by looking at current activities in the Airbnb program. See what’s offered. See what you can do. Use this link to save money on your first experience.
How can you decide on your experience?
- Think of something unique. Is there anything special about you or where you live? What would you wan to see as a tourist?
- Find something on the app that you can improve. Can you do a better version of something? Can you bring an activity to your town? You can go through the app and see what’s available. Can you start a coffee crawl?
- Put your existing business on the app. Are you a freelancer? Do you offer a service? Do you have a business? Put this on Airbnb to find a new audience. If I had surf shop, I would try to get it featured on the Airbnb app.
- Throw something out there. Bring people to sporting events, offer dancing lessons, or just throw anything out there.
I would take some time to check out a few experiences that interest you. From there you can choose to improve the process or to think of a way to bring it to a different community. It never hurts to apply. Your Airbnb experience could bring you some good money.
How do you apply to have an experience with Airbnb?
There’s a pretty straightforward application process through Airbnb to become an experience host.
I was actually denied the first time that I applied. So I had to sell myself and the coffee crawl idea a little harder because they want unique ideas.
I want you to take notes on your phone/laptop and to organize some pictures.
The good news is that you can edit your application before you submit it. You can also alter your experience if you get denied.
Here are the exact steps with pictures to submit your experience to start making money…
[Check out my official experience page to see the reviews and the setup.]
Step 1: Go to “create your experience” and fill in the basic information.
Use this link to set your experience up. If you don’t have an account, then use this link to create an account and get free money towards your next stay of experience.
You’re going to have to fill in basic information about yourself and the experience that you want to offer. This first screen shot should help you figure out what kind of notes you need to have ready.
They’re going to ask you about the location, language, and category. The category section digs pretty deep too.
Then you enter the category next. These are the five main categories…
Then this is what happens if you click entertainment…
This is what they ask you if you click on sports and wellness…
They need to know the basics about the activity…
(Note: I just messed around with different options for the screenshots. Airbnb asks you a bunch of questions to narrow down the activity.)
Step 2: Explain what makes you an “expert” in this field.
This is where you really have to sell yourself. In this example, I chose pro wrestling just for fun. I was testing out the idea of bringing people to a wrestling show with me. To become an Airbnb experience host, they want you to be knowledgeable in the field. You don’t need a degree in the specific topic to get accepted though.
Then they really want you to sell yourself even more after all of those questions on your background. This is where you have to explain why you should be hosting this experience. It’s not that difficult. You can write about your personal experiences. Airbnb specifically outlines what they’re looking for in experience hosts.
Step 3: Explain what the Airbnb experience is all about.
This is where you have to specify what you’re offering. Take some time to really sell the experience so that they approve you. They specifically highlight what works and what they’re looking for. The screenshots below show you what kind of information Airbnb is looking for. This is the section that goes on your official Airbnb experience page (check out my page). The questions are very straightforward.
Step 4: Get the best pictures possible.
You have to try to get some pictures so that Airbnb has something to show people. As you get real people on your experiences, you’ll get better pictures. For now, try to get some generic photos. The application process clearly dictates what works (Airbnb loves candid photos).
Final step: Apply and wait.
You have to wait to see if they’re going to accept you.
I got denied the first time so I fixed up my application by proving that my experience is unique and that I’m the best person for the job.
[Use this link to set your experience up. If you don’t have an account, then use this link to create an account and get free money towards your next stay of experience.]
How do you give the best experience?
Five star reviews are everything. Amazon, Airbnb, Uber, Yelp, and so on are all based on ratings. We decide what to do by how many stars a given activity or restaurant has.
Once you get accepted, you have to set experience times on your calendar. Then you wait for people to apply for your experience. Eventually, people are going to sign up and you have to deliver.
Here are a few general tips that I’ve picked up about giving the best possible experience possible:
- Send a welcome message. Thank the guest for signing up and reach out to them.
- You want to ensure that you know what you’re talking about. You’re dealing with regular people here. Try to pretend that you’re a tourist. Think of what you would want to do.
- You have to be pretty social. There’s a fair bit of talking that goes into the experience. You’e going to want to be fairly social.
- The experience should be unique. Can you offer something unique? They won’t accept you if you don’t think of something that can’t be found through a quick Google search.
- Have fun and enjoy their company. Most people on vacation just want to have fun. Take lots of pictures for your guests, laugh, and get to know them.
Don’t panic if you don’t have the best social skills. Most people are pretty understanding and shy themselves.
I’m often nervous before every experience, but then the nerves disappear when we meet up and start making small talk. I try to ask lots of questions, tell stories, and then I ask for feedback at the end.
[Check out this article on how to host a five star Airbnb Experience.]
How do you make money with hosting an Airbnb experience?
Just like with any other business, you’re not going to make a killing in your first few tries. When you first start, I want you to focus on the reps and the reviews.
Here’s how you can make your money with hosting an experience:
- Volume. Large groups obviously bring in more money.
- Offer an activity that doesn’t have many expenses. Things like walking tours or lessons, don’t have much overhead (just your time).
- Tips. I’ve made decent money from tips.
- Deals and discounts. Use the fact that you’re bringing large groups to a destination as an excuse to get a deal or some sort of a discount.
How has COVID-19 impacted Airbnb Experiences?
The bad news is that the entire world was impacted by the global pandemic in March. I had to cancel coffee crawls in March and I lost out on opportunities to make money (as did many in the world).
On the flip side, Airbnb Experiences went online a few months into the pandemic to create a new source of income for experience hosts.
You have two options for starting an Airbnb Experience in the current climate.
Option #1: Go online.
You can take your entire experience online and make money from your living room. I ran into a fellow Experience Host while going for coffee the other day and they mentioned how their tarot card reading experience business was booming.
What’s an online Airbnb Experience? Here’s the official description:
“Online experiences are a virtual version of Airbnb Experiences. Introduced as a way to give hosts and guests the chance to connect with one another during the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, each experience is a live, interactive video session.”
How do you host an online Airbnb Experience?
- You apply as if it were a regular Experience.
- You fill in the information and apply.
- You wait to her from the Airbnb team to go through the approval process.
- You then use Zoom to offer your digital Airbnb Experience.
What sort of experiences do best online?
- Anything cooking related. There are people cooking tacos in Mexico City and making dinner in Tuscany with Airbnb Experiences from their laptops.
- Something interesting like tarot card reading.
- Historical walks.
- Bartending lessons.
- Coffee making lessons.
The list goes on when it comes to potential options for starting an online experience. This article on Forbes highlights regular folks who are making decent money with online experiences.
Option #2: Follow all safety protocols if experiences are open in your region.
As you can see from the graphic below, I went through training related to dealing with this current global pandemic. Airbnb Experiences also mentioned the following in a message:
“Hosts and guests may cancel penalty-free if they feel sick or have recently been in contact with an infected person.”
You can also do both. You can host an online and offline version of your Airbnb Experience. You have multiple options for making money.
If you enjoy giving experiences and being a host, you can try to turn this into a new source of income. You can host even host an online experience from your living room.
My book about starting an Airbnb Experience is live and you can pay whatever you want.
What’s covered in this guide?
- How to decide on an Airbnb Experience.
- How to make money with an Airbnb Experience.
- How to provide a 5 star experience every single time.
- And much more!
It’s easy to complain about your job or about your financial situation. Anyone can do that. You have to actually do something so that you’re not suck complaining about the same thing.
This is a side hustle worth trying. Go through this guide and consider launching your own experience. This could provide you with a new side income.
What will you do with that extra money?
This extra money could help you quit your job, pay down your debt, or bring in more money for travel.
Use this link to set your experience up. If you don’t have an account, then use this link to create an account and get free money towards your next stay of experience.
Airbnb experiences allow you to make money from your phone by doing things that you enjoy. This is the best income source that you likely never heard of until now.
38 thoughts on “How You Can Make Money From Hosting an Airbnb Experience”
This is awesome – way to go, Martin!
We bought an Airbnb experience when we stayed in Kilkenny this summer. It was a two-hour ‘pony trekking’ adventure not too far away from where we were staying. It was a terrific experience climbing up The Devil’s Bit on horseback. Our guide walked the entire way with our seven-year-old (quite the hike on foot) and chatted with her the whole time. The kids loved it!
Best of all, our host and guide were so grateful for our business and noted specifically how their bookings took off after listing on Airbnb.
Good luck with your coffee crawl, and thanks for inspiring others to start their own Airbnb experience!
Thanks for the visit Robb. I did this as an experiment because I want to show young people how easy it is to make money!
Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve had an idea in mind where I live for quite some time. I had no idea how to put it together now I do! Looking forward to making it a reality now that I’ve found a platform. Going to see if someone started it before me. Lol
What’s the idea Tara? Can’t wait to see it live.
Hi Martin – We met when I did your Queen West Coffee Crawl earlier this week.
Just wanted to let you know that I really like your article and will share it with everyone who mentions looking to diversify their income.
Thanks for making time to write it in such an easy approachable way.
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Julie! That was a fun crawl.
Thanks for sharing this detailed guide, it was exciting to see how approachable this idea is.
I have had couple ideas in mind for hosting on Airbnb for a while now, and did not have the courage to set it up. Looking forward to make it happen, hopefully it will be easier to execute it with your help! Can’t wait to hear from you, Thank you!
I would love to help you get started. What did you have in mind? Any food tours that you can start? Anything cool that you can offer?
This was an amazingly detailed guide to hosting an experience! And I was pleasantly surprised to find out you live in Toronto as well! I’m a server in the bar / nightlife industry and I started to ponder the idea of hosting a bar crawl seeing as I know the industry first-hand. I’m just not sure where to start or if hosting these tours could be more profitable than serving tables.
Would love your insight!
Hey Bri! There’s only one way to find out. Why don’t you apply and try to get accepted? Then you can try to running these on your nights off. Shoot me an email md@studenomics .com or add me on Instagram @studenomics
This is a brilliant article thank you!!! I have been exploring options for my home town in France — As a native English speaker and an expat I think I have the option to offer a different spin on the ‘food & wine’ things!
Hey! Follow me on Instagram @queenwestcoffee and we can discuss ideas. That’s a brilliant idea. You can definitely apply and see where it goes.
Hey I would love for you to guide me in setting up my experience. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Your article is very informative and covers all questions that may formulate as your read through : ) Thanks for writing this Blog!
Hey! I’m here for you. Shoot over any questions here or you can email me.
This is a really insightful article. One of my goals this year is to have a side hustle so that I can travel and do more fun stuff so I love coming across articles like this one that show everyday people making it happen.
Good luck Travion. Let me know if you have any questions.
Is it too late to leave a comment?
I’d love help in writing my Airbnb proposal. I have sort of a unique niche that I’m sure will give people a great deal of value.
I’d be happy to share more, if you’d like. Just email me.
Also, thank you so much for your information!
Thanks for the comment. I’ll be shooting you an email.
Killer first line! Great guide.
Nice guide! I’ve done a few local tours through Experiences and it’s been a fun way to make money and appreciate our hometown while sharing it with others.
Awesome work. Most visitors also want the true experience of a town instead of doing the obvious.
Great idea and great overview. Might have to steal this but replace coffee with beer…
Thanks for the info!
Please do. Every city needs more beer tours. The first thing that tourists do when visiting a new place is look for a place to find a cold beer and something to eat.
That’s an excellent point, which is how most tourists begin their journey. I think that one does not cancel the other, and you can save money and find beer on vacation.