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How to make money with Airbnb experiences: a simple guide

4-minute read

Happy tourists cycling across a bridge
Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith

9 September 2022

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You don’t need to list a property on Airbnb to make money hosting an experience on the online platform. You just need to have a unique tour, activity, or class that people might want to do while they’re visiting your local area.

Whether you’re interested in having a side hustle or want to explore a new revenue stream for your existing business, running an Airbnb experience can be lucrative and rewarding.

Here we’ll explain more about how to set up your Airbnb Experiences page, pros and cons, as well as ideas for adapting an existing small business for the tourist crowd.

What are Airbnb Experiences?

Airbnb says an experience can be anything, but it should ‘go beyond the typical tour or class’. The idea is that it’s something unique, designed by a local, and gives people an insider’s view of your city or culture.

Popular activities include:

  • city tours
  • dance classes
  • photography tours
  • cooking lessons
  • hiking day experiences

How does Airbnb work?

People usually find experiences when they’ve booked to stay somewhere through Airbnb (although anyone can browse the experiences page). The booking will show popular activities near where they’re staying, along with reviews to encourage them to sign up.

Understanding Airbnb fees and payouts

Airbnb does take a percentage of the money you make through experiences. Currently it’s listed as a service fee of 20 per cent of the total cost you charge guests.

Your earnings are released 24 hours after your experience has ended, and will appear in your nominated bank account up to five days later.

Diversify your existing business by hosting experiences

If you’re already a small business owner but are keen to find additional ways to boost your profit, here are just a few ideas you could try, depending on your skill or trade:

  • freelance photographers – take tourists on a tour of the area and photograph them in top spots for Instagram
  • personal chefs – offer a unique dining experience or a cooking class inspired by your culture or local cuisine
  • craft business owners – could you teach people how to make something, for example wreath making (including where to find the materials), or lead an art class in a beautiful location?
  • fashion businesses – take guests through a history of fashion in your city or teach them how to shop more sustainably (complete with a tour of the best second-hand spots in town)

How to host an experience on Airbnb

From city tours to cooking lessons, here’s how to make money with Airbnb Experiences. You’ll need to have excellent customer service skills, show off your local knowledge, and make people feel welcome.

Practical steps to setting up your experience page

First, you’ll need to have an Airbnb account. Just head to the Airbnb website and click ‘Sign up’ if you don’t have an account already. Otherwise, it’ll be the same account you use for travelling.

Then you’re ready to create your experiences page with the following details:

  • name of your experience – you’ll need to give it an eye-catching title that tells guests what the activity is
  • description of the activity and yourself – tell guests what the experience involves, and a bit about your experience and knowledge
  • location – remember people will be unfamiliar with the area so make sure it’s clear where you'll be meeting
  • start time and length of experience – let guests know how long your activity will last and when it starts
  • photos - you can select up to seven quality photos for your experience page, showing guests what to expect from the activity
  • price – set the price for each guest (bearing in mind the Airbnb service fees that'll be taken from your payout)

Thinking of setting up an online experience? We explain more on this below.

Do I need to pay tax on my Airbnb experience?

It’s important to be aware of your Airbnb UK tax responsibilities so you stay on the right side of HMRC.

Everyone’s allowed a £1,000 tax-free trading allowance, so you don’t have to tell HMRC about any income unless you’re making more than this in a tax year.

If you’re running Airbnb experiences regularly then you’ll probably need to set yourself up as self-employed and file a tax return every January.

If this is just a side business for you, read our guide to second job tax to understand in more detail.


As an Airbnb Experiences host, you’re automatically covered by Airbnb’s liability insurance.

This covers you if there’s a claim against you for:

  • bodily injury to a guest (or others)
  • damage to or theft of property belonging to a guest (or others)

However, if running experiences is only one part of your business, you’ll need to organise additional cover. Find out more about business insurance and tailor a quote to suit your needs.

How do Airbnb Online Experiences work?

Airbnb introduced Online Experiences during the pandemic in 2020, and they surged in popularity. There are now hundreds of online experiences listed on Airbnb, ranging from magic tricks to a coffee masterclass.

To get set up with an online experience, you’ll need to submit a video demonstration to Airbnb so they can confirm it meets their standards (in addition to the steps mentioned above). Airbnb has created guides on how to create a video submission to help you set up.

Pros and cons of hosting Airbnb Experiences


  • flexible – you decide when and how often you want to offer an experience
  • easy to build reviews – people are used to writing reviews of homes on Airbnb, and will often be keen to leave a public review of your experience
  • can be highly profitable – offering a unique experience for small groups can mean you can charge more for the personal experience


  • service fees – Airbnb takes 20 per cent of the price for each guest just for using their platform (although you get free marketing and insurance)
  • no minimum group size – to make experiences accessible for solo travels, you need to offer your experience even if only one person signs up

Is there anything else you want to know about making money on Airbnb experiences? Let us know in the comments.

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Photograph: Mirko Vitali/
Catriona Smith

Written by

Catriona Smith

Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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