Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where 7 billion people can belong anywhere, no matter which stage they might be in life. Over 1.6 billion people across the world are at least 50 years old1—a unique demographic that brings along an untapped wealth of life experiences and practical know-hows paired with an unquenchable thirst to re-innovate themselves.
Baby boomers2 (also affectionately known as “Active Seniors”3) and those of the millennial generation share a common thread — a zest for life. Whereas millennials seek to define their aspirations, these active seniors understand what takes sole priority in order to attain complete happiness in life — relationships.
Having spent a large portion of their lives working to pay off bills and supporting their families and themselves, active seniors (between the ages of 50 to 70) are now free to pursue their hearts’ desires thanks to financial stability and independence. So, it comes as no surprise that many seek out to explore genuine interactions as part of their retirement plans, also referred to as their second shot at life.
Beyond not having to depend on the younger generation for support, their hospitality gives millennials a chance to veer away from mass-produced tourist trips and gain access to privileged life wisdom.
Hosting is a way of life for many
In Korea, more than 1,300 hosts are between the ages of 50 and 70. These active seniors are also the fastest growing age bracket on Airbnb, doubling more than twice since 2015. In Sokcho, 40% of hosts are between the ages of 50 and 70, the most in any city.
Many who began hosting for financial reasons now say that the social benefits have contributed to a renewed sense of purpose. Globally, 80% of the hosts said that hosting on Airbnb helped them stay more mentally engaged and emotionally connected. In Korea, we are seeing the same phenomenon.
“I’m not afraid anymore. I can make enough income to make a living on my own”, says Gwi-Nyeo, Airbnb host aged 60, who picked up painting again. “I had some fears about my later years due to lack of pensions, but now I know I am able to successfully stand on my own two feet.”
Stay in Gwi-Nyeo’s Home: https://www.airbnb.co.kr/rooms/305837
Hyung-shik, an Airbnb host aged 64, who previously worked in the construction and broadcast industry, suffered cerebral infarction, forcing him into early retirement. “It was interaction with my guests that helped me overcome the emotional slump I had. I was able to find my old self and learnt that life is not simply about food, clothing and shelter. My wife and I treasure this second job of ours.”
Hyung-shik and his wife welcomes you here: https://www.airbnb.co.kr/rooms/2346392
Active seniors know the hidden gems and history of a country
“The way our guests travel is just like the way we did in the past. Like going to a quiet neighbourhood, staying long enough to experience the local food and culture.”
The scene of a small village in Gangwon-do, nestled atop the mountains can indeed be busier than a city. An entirely different world unravels under the roof of husband and wife duo Sun-woo and Jin-Hee’s home. Hosting became a family project where the couple gets to interact with their son several times a day while he manages their bookings through the Airbnb platform from Seoul. “Now I feel connected to my children and guests with no sense of isolation whatsoever.”
Visit Sun-woo and Jin-Hee’s small village here: https://www.airbnb.co.kr/rooms/3732865
In smaller cities4, the proportions of hosts who are active seniors are actually much higher. In the small city of Sokcho, 40% of hosts are between the ages of 50 and 70, the most in any city. In fact, about one-third of all active senior hosts are located in small cities, compared to one-eighth of hosts aged between 18 to 30. “Now, my second job is positively impacting the non-typical neighbourhoods since we help stretch tourism”, Hyung-shik adds.
In 2015, over 9 million travelers have visited rural villages as a result of vitalizing tourism in rural areas. Moreover, rural tourism has earned KRW 100 billion in revenue, and settled down as a full-scale industry5.
Airbnb’s commitment to Korea
Last year alone, over half a million tourists travelled to Korea through Airbnb, staying in ordinary people’s homes, Minbak, and other accommodations. We know that the growth of Airbnb is helping spread the economic benefits of hosting to new families and local communities that wouldn’t otherwise benefit from the tourist dollar—when people travel on Airbnb, 97% of the accommodation cost goes to the local host and stays in the local economy.
Airbnb, the world’s leading community driven hospitality, has released “에어비앤비 액티브 시니어 인생 호스팅” (Airbnb Active Senior’s Life on Hosting), a storybook of 12 inspiring stories of the hosts and homes in Korea. Taking it digital, it is also published on Brunch. These mark Airbnb’s commitment to connecting people to enriched experiences, and to the tireless communal spirit these active seniors can bring through a new way to “travel”, without leaving your doorstep.
4In cities fewer than 100 hosts