Lack of employment opportunities, insufficient pensions, widowhood and the need to have extra income to pay off or maintain a home are among the reasons why many Mexican seniors have become hosts on the accommodation platform Airbnb.
According to a report prepared by the online accommodations broker, 9.7% of its hosts in Mexico are retirees and 12% are aged over 60. The number of older adults renting out rooms or entire properties on the site has grown by 50% over the past year.
Carlos Olivos, the company’ communications director for Latin America, told the newspaper El Financiero that offering accommodation on Airbnb provides an opportunity for older people who have been “disregarded” by the traditional labor market to earn an additional income.
People who wish to keep working can “complement their income and . . . keep themselves active,” he said.
One such person is 80-year-old Marina Bautista, who rents out a space in her Nuevo Vallarta home for 1,763 pesos (US $90) a night.
“At the age of 80 and with my husband at 86, we were unable to get more money than what we received for our pensions. Now we have the income that we lacked [to meet] expenses that are necessary due to our age,” she said.
Across Mexico, 71% of hosts on Airbnb, like Bautista, rent out part of their home to visitors.
Ana María Prieto, a 62-year-old retired teacher, started renting out a room in her San Miguel de Allende home for 750 pesos (US $40) a night after a former colleague recommended signing up.
“In general, the experience with Airbnb has been very good,” she said, adding that the money she makes complements the “limited income” she receives from her pension.
Travelers who stayed at Airbnb properties in 2018 generated an economic spillover of US $2.7 billion, according to a company estimate. Mexico is the ninth biggest Airbnb market in the world.
Olivos said that people who choose to stay at Mexico’s Airbnb properties are by and large happy with their experience.
“Mexicans are great hosts and the platform shows it because we have an average rating of 4.7 out of five stars, which reflects our hospitality . . . Older people, with their experience and knowledge, can provide valuable experiences to those who stay with them,” he said.
Source: El Financiero (sp)