Airbnb dou­bles rental in­come


A de­ci­sion to try Airbnb in­stead of a tra­di­tional rental ar­range­ment has al­lowed Hawke’s Bay woman Emma Ha­gen to dou­ble the money she earns from a cot­tage on her prop­erty.

Ha­gen owns a life­style block in Long­lands, on the out­skirts of Hast­ings. As well as the main house, it has a two-bed­room, onebath­room self-con­tained cot­tage that can ac­com­mo­date up to four guests.

Orig­i­nally, it was let for $290 a week to long-term ten­ants. But when the most re­cent ten­ancy ended, Ha­gen de­cided it was time to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. ‘‘I thought ‘how am I go­ing to re­place them when they were such nice ten­ants?’ And I thought about Airbnb.’’

That was in June. Since then, the cot­tage has had an 80 per cent oc­cu­pancy rate via Airbnb, at a base rate of $80 a night for two peo­ple – with an added $20 a night for any ex­tra peo­ple stay­ing. There is also a $40 clean­ing fee. Dur­ing the Christ­mas and New Year pe­riod, Airbnb hiked the rate in re­sponse to a short­age of ac­com­mo­da­tion.

‘‘Airbnb has an al­go­rithm to say what else is avail­able in the area and they ramped it up pretty high.’’

Over Jan­uary, she cleared $4000. Ha­gen said that where she might pre­vi­ously have earned $15,000 in rental in­come over a year, she could dou­ble her money with Airbnb.

She would not go back to a tra­di­tional rental ar­range­ment, un­less there was a clam­p­down that lim­ited the num­ber of nights prop­er­ties could be let on Airbnb. ‘‘It’s worked out for us be­cause we have the prop­erty with the cot­tage that’s sur­plus to re­quire­ments. It’s been a real cash­flow bonus.’’

Ha­gen owns four other rental prop­er­ties in Flaxmere, but they are not suit­able for Airbnb.

There is work in­volved in let­ting via Airbnb – Ha­gen es­ti­mates she spends an hour clean­ing and pre­par­ing the prop­erty each time the ten­ants change.

‘‘But it’s lit­er­ally 10 me­tres from our house so I can pop back and forth. It’s so easy for me. I do the clean­ing my­self and it’s not what I want to be do­ing but I think about my hourly rate and that’s pretty good.’’

The cur­rent ten­ants are stay­ing five nights and pay­ing $700. ‘‘I don’t mind do­ing a one-hour clean for that.’’

Ha­gen and her part­ner own a gourmet food shop, and kit out the cot­tage with treats for guests.

Trade Me data shows pres­sure on the Hawke’s Bay rental mar­ket – the av­er­age ask­ing rent is up 11.8 per cent com­pared to a year ear­lier.


‘‘It's worked out for us be­cause we have the prop­erty with the cot­tage ... It's been a real cash­flow bonus.’’

Emma Ha­gen The cot­tage on Emma Ha­gen’s life­style prop­erty.


Emma Ha­gen and part­ner Bart.

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