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How to Make Money on Airbnb without Owning Property

How to Make Money on Airbnb without Owning Property

In today's sharing economy, Airbnb stands out as a game-changer for both travelers and investors, presenting unique avenues for generating income. What's fascinating is that you don't necessarily need to own property to tap into the lucrative vacation rental market.

This article delves into innovative methods for making money on Airbnb, breaking down the traditional barriers to entry. Whether you're an experienced property manager or a savvy investor seeking portfolio diversification, there's a path for you to explore. A profitable niche can be carved out within Airbnb's dynamic ecosystem by leveraging contemporary concepts.

Plus, with the right tools at your disposal, managing these ventures becomes seamless, paving the way for sustainable success in the rental market on Airbnb.

In the US alone, the vacation rental industry’s total revenue is estimated to reach $13.3 billion with a roughly 10% year-over-year vacation rental market growth rate, the industry will be close to $20 billion in 2025. If you want a piece of the pie for yourself here’s how you can without even owning a property.

Understanding the Short-Term Rental Market

The surge in vacation rental popularity, driven by the demand for cozy, personalized stays and platforms like Airbnb, creates lucrative opportunities for aspiring market entrants without owning property.

The Airbnb rental market

Airbnb's impact on travel extends beyond traditional tourism by fostering deeper connections between guests and local communities, benefiting both travelers and local economies, as well as platform-savvy individuals.

For hosts, property managers, and investors, success hinges on grasping market dynamics, understanding traveler preferences, and finely tuning listings to align with these insights.

1. Airbnb Rental Arbitrage

Airbnb rental arbitrage presents a compelling opportunity for individuals looking to enter the Airbnb market without the significant financial commitment of purchasing property. This strategy involves leasing a property and then subletting it as a short-term vacation rental on platforms like Airbnb.

Here's how you can navigate this path successfully.

Understanding rental arbitrage

At its core, rental arbitrage is about capitalizing on the difference between long-term lease costs and the potential income from short-term rentals. The key is to find a property in a desirable location with high short-term demand, and ensure that Airbnb's income exceeds the lease and operational costs, including utilities, furnishings, and maintenance.

Legal and financial considerations

Understand the legal landscape before beginning rental arbitrage. Communicate with potential landlords and review local regulations and zoning laws to ensure compliance. Not all cities or landlords welcome subletting properties on Airbnb. Create a lease agreement that explicitly permits short-term rentals.

Consider the initial investment for furnishing the property, ongoing expenses, and the potential for fluctuating occupancy rates when planning the financial aspect. Budgeting for these variables can lay the foundation for a profitable endeavor.

Potential earnings and growth

The attractiveness of rental arbitrage lies in its scalability. You can replicate the model with one successful property, gradually building a portfolio of rental properties managed on Airbnb. This can significantly increase your earning potential without the need for outright property ownership.

2. Co-hosting Services

Co-hosting on Airbnb allows individuals to manage properties on behalf of the owner, sharing in the profits without the burden of owning the real estate. This arrangement benefits property owners who may not have the time, expertise, or inclination to manage their listings and offers a lucrative opportunity for savvy entrepreneurs.

What is co-hosting?

Co-hosting involves taking on the responsibilities of managing a short-term rental, which can include creating and optimizing listings, communicating with guests, handling check-ins and check-outs, managing cleaners, and ensuring the overall guest experience is top-notch. In return, co-hosts receive a percentage of the rental income, providing a direct incentive to maximize occupancy rates and guest satisfaction.

Starting with co-hosting

To embark on a co-hosting venture, one must first understand the Airbnb platform and what makes a listing successful. Networking with property owners interested in short-term rentals but hesitant to manage the process themselves is the next step. Offering your services as a co-host requires demonstrating your value proposition clearly — showcasing your ability to increase occupancy rates, enhance guest experiences and ultimately, boost the owner's revenue.

Tips for successful co-hosting

Build a reputation

Start small to build your reputation as a reliable co-host. Positive reviews and successful case studies can be powerful tools in attracting more clients.

Use technology

Leverage vacation rental software and short-term rental software to streamline the management process, from booking to cleaner management.

Communication is key

Effective communication with both property owners and guests is vital. Establish clear lines of communication and response protocols to ensure a smooth operation.

Stay informed

Keep abreast of local regulations and market trends to advise property owners accurately and maintain compliance with local laws.

3. Start an Airbnb Cleaner Service

When it comes to short-term rentals, the cleanliness of a property is a non-negotiable factor that significantly impacts guest satisfaction and, consequently, the success of a listing. It is often the first task that hosts outsource.

Recognizing this, launching an Airbnb cleaner service presents a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to enter the vacation rental market.

Getting started

Start by analyzing your local demand for cleaning services, especially in areas dense with Airbnb listings, to customize your offerings according to the unique requirements and expectations of Airbnb hosts.

Develop a business plan

Detail your services, pricing, and operations, deciding on offerings from standard to deep cleaning, including niche options like eco-friendly products or rapid turnarounds for consecutive bookings.

Invest in quality supplies

Investing in high-quality cleaning supplies and equipment is vital for meeting hosts' and guests' expectations, significantly boosting service efficiency and work quality.

Hire and train staff

If you plan to scale your service, you must hire a team of reliable and skilled cleaners. Provide comprehensive training on Airbnb cleaning standards, customer service, and the specific requirements of vacation rental properties.

Key responsibilities

  • Ensure every property is cleaned to the highest standards, meeting or exceeding Airbnb’s cleanliness guidelines.
  • Develop a system for quick and efficient cleaning between guest check-outs and check-ins, maximizing hosts' rental availability.
  • Offer customizable cleaning packages that cater to the unique needs of each property, from basic upkeep to luxury services.


  • The growth of vacation rentals ensures a steady demand for quality cleaning services.
  • Exceptional service can lead to repeat bookings from hosts, providing a stable income.
  • There is significant potential for business growth, from servicing a few properties to managing a large portfolio.


  • Managing scheduling, staff, and supplies can be complex, especially as your client base grows.
  • You may face competition from established cleaning companies or other specialized Airbnb cleaning services, depending on your location.
  • Meeting the high expectations of guests and hosts can be demanding, requiring attention to detail and exceptional service quality.

Utilizing technology

Consider leveraging software to streamline operations and enhance communication with clients. These tools can help with scheduling, invoicing, and maintaining high service standards, providing a competitive edge in the market.

4. Become an Airbnb Property Manager

The role of a property manager is pivotal in the short-term rental industry. As a manager, you act as the liaison between property owners and guests, ensuring that properties are booked, maintained, and ready for visitors to enjoy.

But what does it take to excel in this role, and how can you start?

Getting started

Learn about the vacation rental market first. It is important to understand what makes a listing successful, such as the location, amenities, or unique experiences offered. Equipping yourself with vacation rental software can streamline tasks such as booking management, guest communication, and cleaning scheduling.

Key responsibilities

  • Ensure listings are up-to-date, appealing, and competitive.
  • Provide timely and helpful responses to inquiries and support guests throughout their stay.
  • Coordinate cleanings and maintenance to keep properties in top condition.


  • Flexible work schedule, high demand, and the opportunity to manage multiple listings.


  • The role can be demanding, requiring you to juggle various tasks and sometimes unpredictable challenges.

5. Become an Airbnb Photographer

If you have a passion for photography and an eye for detail, becoming an Airbnb photographer can be lucrative.

Getting started

Build a portfolio showcasing your ability to photograph interiors and exteriors attractively. Familiarize yourself with the Airbnb platform's standards and expectations for listing photos.

Key responsibilities

  • Visual Storytelling - capture the unique character and amenities of each property.
  • Editing Skills - enhance photos to reflect the space accurately while highlighting its best features.
  • Client Collaboration - work with hosts to understand their needs and ensure their property is depicted accurately.


  • Creative freedom, flexible scheduling, and the chance to work with various properties.


  • Work can be project-based and inconsistent, requiring you to manage high and low-demand periods.

6. Host an Airbnb Experience

Airbnb experiences allow locals to share their knowledge, passion, or craft with travelers seeking unique, immersive activities. From cooking classes to guided tours, experiences offer a personal connection to the local culture and lifestyle.

Getting started

Consider what unique experiences you can offer that showcase your expertise and passion. Whether it's a historical tour of your city or a virtual workshop, think about what would appeal to travelers.

Key responsibilities

  • Develop an engaging, informative, and enjoyable activity.
  • Utilize the Airbnb platform to highlight your experience, targeting guests interested in your niche.
  • Provide a memorable, personal interaction that enriches guests' travel experiences.


  • Flexibility to offer experiences online or in-person, the joy of sharing your passion, and the potential for significant earnings.


  • Requires creativity and expertise in your offering, adherence to Airbnb's quality standards, and the possibility of needing a business license.

Best Strategies for Offering Services for Airbnb Properties

1. Create an online presence

In the Airbnb ecosystem, a robust online presence and a distinct brand are essential for differentiation and attracting more clients, whether you're a property manager, cleaner, or co-hosting service provider.

2. Create your own brand

Your brand, symbolizing your commitment to quality, reliability, and uniqueness, is shaped by clear brand values, a unique selling proposition, and an understanding of your target audience, guiding all marketing endeavors from logo design to social media strategies.

3. Leveraging social media and websites

Maintaining a professional website and active social media presence, with engaging content like insights, tips, and success stories, can boost visibility, establish expertise, and open new business avenues.

4. Networking and collaboration

Fostering relationships with property owners, service providers, and local businesses enhances opportunities and brand visibility through collaborative benefits like shared marketing and bundled services.

Nailing the Finish Line

You find a world of possibilities when you explore Airbnb's many ways to make money without owning a property. Each strategy offers a different path to success, ranging from rental arbitrage and co-hosting to specializing services and building a strong brand. Anyone can profit from the growing demand for vacation and short-term rentals if they have the right knowledge, tools, and a professional approach to the booming Airbnb market.

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?

Hostaway is proud to support thousands of Property Managers and Airbnb Hosts Around the world. We take pride in being Top Ranked in Vacation Rental Software Review Sites: Capterra, G2, Software Advice, Trust Pilot, to name just a few! Check out our reviews and read the Hostaway Case Studies from real successful and growing Short-Term Rental Managers!