The hidden costs of running a competitive Airbnb property eat into any profits a host may think he can gain, according to an entrepreneur, who has since left behind his job of managing such properties.
In light of the recent debate sparked by the suggestion from JHTA President Omar Robinson that Airbnb operators should pay a hotel accommodation tax, the Jamaica Observer spoke with entrepreneur Ian Dunn, who worked in the Airbnb business for seven years, to learn what his opinions are on the subject, and how those opinions have been shaped through his experiences in the industry.
Dunn pointed out that in the same way that he started offering this service as a way of supplementing his income, he observed that most homeowners engage with Airbnb to supplement their own income as well. He suggested that it is by no means a business that you go into to get rich.
“In this business, like most businesses, you need money to make money,” he explained. “It is only the people who own luxurious properties in the affluent neighbourhoods that make impressive money. They can charge the kind of rates that easily cover expenses while generating significant profit.”
During the years 2011 – 2017, Dunn offered management services to Airbnb operators in Montego Bay. This was an enterprise he engaged in to supplement his income from a nine-to-five job, which he held at the time.
The 38-year-old entrepreneur also started his car rental business, Bonus Car Rental and Services Ltd, in 2017 and just opened an auto parts enterprise this year called Bonus Parts Accessories and Auto Imports Ltd.
Dunn managed four properties in Montego Bay while working with Airbnb operators. One was in the neighbourhood of Ironshore while the other three were in the residential area of Westgate Hills. One of these properties was a large, seven-room house which would sometimes see more than 40 arrivals a month in the high season.