Airbnb has taken the hospitality industry by storm. Ten years ago the idea of average people renting out an apartment by the night was unheard of – now it is common to check hotels and Airbnb when planning a trip.
Those traveling with small groups and families … Airbnb is often your best choice.
So how can bloggers and niche marketers profit from this?
There are a couple of ways, let’s take a look.
Airbnb Affiliate Program
Types of products: Accommodations and Tours
Where to join: Airbnb Affiliate Page
Commission structure: NA
Cookie length: NA
Payment Methods: NA
Airbnb Affiliate and Referral Program
Airbnb has two programs that can earn money from referring your visitors too. The Airbnb affiliate program and the Airbnb referral program. Airbnb canceled its affiliate program a few years ago. It was replaced by a new affiliate program for hi-volume sites and a referral program for sites with less traffic.
Airbnb Affiliate Program Requirements
The affiliate program is generally for sites with very high traffic.
Airbnb is looking for partners with 1m monthly views. One million. That’s a lot of traffic even for a travel site targeting info keywords chasing traffic. They actually list 6 requirements …
- 1 million monthly visits — An audience consisting of no less than 1M visits or app openings each month
- Passion — A passion for helping people connect and belong
- Relevance — Dynamic and inspirational content about travel or hospitality
- Versatility — An eagerness to leverage all media channels (especially blogs and social)
- Creativity — Creative design that produces a modern user experience
- Intent — An audience with a high intent to book accommodations or host their homes
Airbnb Referral Program Requirements
The referral program is open to everyone. It allows you to offer a discount coupon on the guest’s first reservation. You get a flat fee when the guest books and completes the stay. But in reality, it is meant as a refer-a-friend program. It is not something that replaces an affiliate program and they explicitly exclude commercial activities, bloggers and similar niche marketers.
“Referrals should only be used for personal and non-commercial purposes. Referral links should not be published or distributed on commercial websites (such as coupon websites, Reddit, or Wikipedia) or on blogs.”
Airbnb is most know is a marketplace for finding a holiday or other short-term rental for you and your family, workgroup or other parties. It has had a disruptive effect on the hospitality industry and is often the best choice for accommodations – particularly in expensive markets.
Airbnb does not own the apartments or take responsibility for any services other than the listing of the property. They are paid a percentage of your lodging cost as a commission from the property owner.
In many markets, you now find commercial properties as well as individuals renting their properties.
Airbnb also accepts listings for experiences. These are typically local tours and guided activities.
Airbnb calls the owners (or their agents) hosts. There are also Superhosts which many guests seek out. The Superhost system was created to highlight the best properties and hosts. To become a Superhost you must …
- Host at least 10 stays in a year
- Maintain a 90%+ response rate or higher to inquiries from guests.
- At least 80% of your reviews must be 5-star reviews
- Honor confirmed reservations — do not cancel on guests
Airbnb uses its review system to provide objective information about the apartments form actual visitors. This is often manipulated by shills who post positive reviews at the request of owners. You do need to have a confirmed stay so this limits intentionally negative reviews by competitors — though it does happen.
Airbnb Listing Order
Just like Google search the position of your listing will create more click. Airbnb sells higher placement in the search results as a form of advertising. So this is a marketing cost to hosts and something guests should be aware of.
Airbnb Commission Rates and Rules
The Airbnb affiliate program commission rates are a closely guarded secret. It is likely a small club of corporate media companies that have enough traffic and the inclination to join the Airbnb program so I wouldn’t count on it leaking out.
The Airbnb referral program pays on both accommodation stays and activities booked. But this is really just a refer-a-friend system not an affiliate program for bloggers or niche marketers.
You do not receive cash but Airbnb credits for the referral program.
They have a cap on teh lifetime earnings for an individual …
- $5,000 USD total for Home Reservations/Accommodations
- $2,000 USD for Experience Reservations
Bonus Earning Opportunities
You also can get $50 for referring a host that lists their unit for rent or a new local expert who lists their activity.
How to Promote Airbnb
If you have the million monthly visitors in travel or another related niche well … more power to you! You probably already know how to promote products and likely have some staff.
The referral programs can easily pay for your annual vacation lodging. That is my goal. Earn enough credits to pay for an extra-special property for me and my family. This is a really easy conversion and does not require a travel blog. Remember the visitor/prospect is getting fee money. So it is not a matter of convincing someone but rather just getting it in front of them. I have had success with …
- A review of a travel destination with the coupon/referral embedded
- My away from office email responder with the link in it
- Dropping the link in Facebook groups were appropriate
Can You Make Money with Airbnb?
A first-glance I think many people just shake their heads at the 1 million monthly visitor number and wonder if Airbnb has forgotten its roots. After all, it is the individual host that has made the company so successful. Few if any similar individuals have a site with 1 million monthly visitors.
However, the refer a friend is actually a very easy conversion. The new Airbnb guest is getting a credit on their stay and you earn a nice bit of income. There are lots of Amazon products that pay much less.
I focus on the ability to earn a free holiday, not the exclusivity of the unobtainable affiliate program.
Too bad they don’t pay in cash but Airbnb credit is always welcome and a good excuse for a future vacation.