San Diego seniors turn to Airbnb to stay in their homes and meet new people

Home sharing creates a powerful connection between visitors to San Diego and the hosts who make them feel like they belong in the city.

By opening their homes to guests from around the world, hosts give visitors the unique opportunity to live like a local—and, by using home sharing to travel, guests are able to give back to the communities they visit.

The fastest-growing group of hosts in San Diego are seniors: In 2016, the number of hosts aged 60 to 90 grew 73 percent. One in ten of San Diego’s hosts are seniors, and 59 percent of senior hosts are women.

And visitors to San Diego like staying with seniors: Hosts ages 60 to 90 have the highest percentage of five star reviews.

Home sharing’s economic and social benefits are the driving forces behind this growth. The extra income home sharing provides can be a much-needed boon to people living on fixed incomes. Many seniors can afford to stay in their homes because of the money earned through hosting. And hosts are able to form new social connections through home sharing, where they can get to people from all over the world.

Making ends meet. A typical senior-hosted listing in San Diego is booked for about 41 days per year, and typical host income for seniors is $11,256. The extra money earned hosting helps many seniors pay bills, fix up their homes and even take trips themselves. Nationally, 41 percent of seniors report that hosting helps them afford to stay in their homes.

Susan Adams retired in 2006, and in 2014 began sharing her Rancho Bernardo home to earn extra money.

“Hosting on Airbnb has allowed me to keep my home and make necessary improvements to it over time. I’m able to continue living in San Diego and have my children visit me thanks to the income I earn on Airbnb. I wouldn’t have been able to pay my medical bills and keep my house if it were not for the income from renting my whole home,” she says.

“Airbnb was the single best decision I made to keep my house.”

Welcoming families to San Diego. For Chuck Samples, welcoming families to San Diego and opening up his residence to them is something he loves doing. Chuck lives most of the year in Scripps Ranch while renting a whole-home rental in Alpine that he uses himself throughout the year. Chuck enjoys staying engaged in the community, and the money he earns on Airbnb helps preserve his unique home.

“The income I earn on Airbnb allows me to pay property taxes,” Chuck says, “and I really enjoy meeting people from around the world. It’s a wonderful experience!”

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