At the Digitial Life Design conference in Munich today, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky gave a talk about the “sharing economy,” another way of describing the peer-to-peer ecosystem that Betabeat has been closely following. In the talk, Mr. Chesky placed Airbnb in the third-wave of the internet. After e-commerce and social connectivity, this new wave is about using online platforms to share online experiences. According to Mr. Chesky, this wave, which could include companies like Skillshare, TaskRabbit, and Zaarly, can also be unexpectedly lucrative.
Take New York City, for example, where Mr. Chesky said you can “literally” find an Airbnb on every single block in the city. (Currently there are 10,068 listings in New York.) As TechCrunch reports, on stage, Mr. Chesky said, “Airbnb hosts in NYC make $21,000 a year on average, and some even up to $100,000 a year, which I think everyone would agree is a decent chunk of cash for anyone.”
We agree, $21,000 to $100,000 is a lot of money for renting out your cramped city apartment when you’re out of town, which makes us wonder if the stats he quotes aren’t a little misleading. Take the top two “recommended” results in New York City right now. They range from $89 to $139 per night. At that rate, to make the $21,000 average, you would have to rent out your room for 235 to 151 days a year. At that point, we imagine you’re gone for so long, that you’re also paying rent elsewhere.
What seems more likely is that listings—like these twin cottages in Staten Island, which go for $9,000 a night, and will net you $21,000 in less than three days—are skewing the results. We’re all for marketplaces that monetize your unused time, space, or skills, it’s just easier to get on board when you don’t oversell it.