How Airbnb Has Revolutionised the Buying Process for Ski Properties

In the past decade, Airbnb has emerged as a game-changer in the ski home market. We look at why it has proven popular, what makes a successful Airbnb and how to start one. 

Airbnb’s rise in popularity 

Exterior of a ski property in Morzine, France

Airbnb’s growth has been phenomenal, especially among travellers seeking accommodations in ski areas. Here are the key reasons that many holidaymakers are choosing to opt for an Airbnb over a hotel stay:

  • Flexible: Often, Airbnb accommodation has a shorter minimum stay requirement than a hotel. Some Airbnb ski chalets allow stays of just two nights. Dependent on the property, it can also be easier to book at short notice. 
  • Diversity in places to stay: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all ski chalet. Some might prefer a larger property, a little further away, so that the family can all get together. While for others, being as close to the slopes as possible might be the top priority. Airbnb provides holidaymakers with a wider variety of choice in accommodation than simply weighing up the pros and cons of different hotels.
  • More cost-effective: A stay in an Airbnb can range from under £100 a night to eye-watering sums in the thousands – it is really dependent on the property, the location and the season. Having said that, Airbnb has provided the opportunity for many to enjoy a ski holiday that is lighter on the purse. 
  • Cosier feel: Some people are more at ease in an Airbnb. It feels like home more, there’s no need to dress up, be overly formal or endure awkward elevator chit-chat on the way up to your room. 
  • Supporting small businesses: Some buyers prefer for their money to go towards an individual or group than a major hotel branch. 
  • Personal touch: How hands-on you are as an Airbnb owner is up to you, with some preferring to hire a management company to hand over the keys. But some holidaymakers will appreciate a friendly Airbnb host to show them the area. 

Purchasing a ski home to turn into an Airbnb 

Kitchen in ski home in Les Habères, France

If you are thinking of purchasing a ski property and turning it into a successful Airbnb, you may find it useful to research the locations most popular on the site, and what features holidaymakers are looking for. 

According to a report by Airbnb, British holidaymakers prefer French ski holidays. In winter 2022, the following French locations were the most sought-after on by Brits looking for an Airbnb: Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Megève, Les Houches, Chatel, Les Gets, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and Morzine. Outside of France, Breuil-Cervinia in Italy and Zell am See in Austria were top searches.

In a late 2023 report on winter travel, Airbnb highlighted the categories most booked by holidaymakers. While some of the categories are only applicable to those that looked for a sunny getaway, the following apply to those looking for a ski Airbnb: cabins, amazing pools, countryside and amazing views. 

Even if you do not own a property in a favoured French ski resort with the best views, Airbnb can still be an effective way to make money. Each holidaymaker has their own needs and desires, and your home could fit their niche. 

Be wary of local regulations 

Before you purchase your home, it’s important to check the local regulations to see how straightforward turning it into an Airbnb would be. For example, in France, the rules differ greatly for those renting out a single room to those running mini hotels. This, your annual earnings, and whether the home is a primary, secondary or other residence will all impact the tax you pay. You will also have to officially register your property as an Airbnb accommodation. Other countries have similar regulations. 

How Airbnb has changed the property market 

Exterior of a ski property in Kuhtai, Austria

Airbnb has led to certain areas and properties being more tightly squeezed, with prices increasing as a result. Buyers no longer tend to just look for a home that suits them, but one that would suit potential holidaymakers.

Still, if you can find a home suitable for you that has great potential as an Airbnb, it can prove to be a lucrative investment.