Tiny homes and Airbnb: Why it pays to be unique

Hosts around the world have been sharing their unique spaces on Airbnb for well over a decade, and guests have fallen for their one-of-a-kind stays, from domes and windmills to lighthouses and trains.

In the past two years alone, from 2019 to 2021, nights booked at unique properties have increased globally by nearly 50%. With more guests booking unique stays, hosts are also earning real income, with unique listings earning nearly $1 billion just in 2021. Globally, earnings by night and by traveler were higher for unique than for non-unique listings in 2021.

So what makes these unique stays increasingly appealing to guests and hosts alike? And how can someone with a unique space — or even just an idea for one — tap into this trend to earn? Tiny homes. According to Airbnb, they’re the top grossing unique space type. They earned their hosts more than a $195 million in 2021.

After graduating from Boise State University, Ellis Nanney decided to ditch the career path and live his life in a more entrepreneurial way. Coming hot off of a study abroad semester in Sevilla, Spain, the travel bug and an insatiable desire to explore the world took the reins and set him on an unconventional path for the next decade. His work life was filled with either seasonal or temporary jobs that had him marketing Idaho Potatoes as a self-proclaimed ‘Spud Stud’, promoting the Mexican Caribbean as the ‘Cancun Experience Officer’, hosting a travel show called the Fireball Run, and managing the world’s greatest travel experience, the TukTuk Tournament in Sri Lanka. In between these ‘jobs’ he filled the gaps with international trips that have taken him to nearly 40 countries across 6 continents.

Along this journey he was always looking for a way to make this lifestyle sustainable while also providing security for his future. This led him to buy a piece of property and build a tiny house that he could both use as a home base and be a source of passive income to support his adventures.

The venture proved a success and he’s been an Airbnb Superhost since he began renting his tiny home in 2019.

Nanney appeared on KPRC 2+ to share more about his experience as an Airbnb host. For his insights, watch the video at the top of the page.

You can stream KPRC 2+ weekdays at 7 a.m. on click2houston.com and on the KPRC 2 app.