Looking for income alternatives to Airbnb? Start hosting film shoots!
Giggster is a site like Airbnb that helps property owners rent their property to high-paying film and photography projects.
Earning income from your home has become a popular trend in recent years, thanks to the incredible success of Airbnb, as well as a range of other niche competitors. Short-term rental (STR) sites are now available in almost every major city in the world, with dozens of companies serving a community of 1.3 billion worldwide tourists. Aside from the segment leader Airbnb, the success of alternatives such as VRBO, HomeAway, Homestay, OneFineStay, Plum Guide, Misterb&b and Flipkey provide both renters and hosts with a range of options when it comes to booking a place to stay.
Airbnb and these other sites have been SO successful, that in the past few years they've faced mounting pressure from city governments eager to curb trends of gentrification, and the commercialization of the peer-to-peer home rental market.
The situation has reached a tipping point in many US cities such as New York, San Francisco, and most recently, Los Angeles, where short-term rentals face serious restrictions, and in some cases, are completely banned.
This government crack-down has put increased pressure on both vacationers and Airbnb hosts to find viable alternatives that maintain the simplicity and reputability of familiar tech-driven STR platforms.
"Once you've experienced the streamlined booking process of Airbnb, you're not going to go back to playing Russian roulette listing your spare bedroom on Craigslist."
Earn 4x More than Airbnb Hosting Film Shoots
Fortunately, there is now a compelling alternative to renting out your property for short-term vacationers: renting for film production.
Not only do film and photo crews pay significantly more than individual property renters (with rates often exceeding $3k per day), they are also more professional (since they are renting for work, as opposed to pleasure), and provide stronger insurance protections and allowances for on-site monitoring and damage mitigation (ex. matting, power-generators, portable toilets).
From an income perspective the choice is a no-brainer:
"We listed our Los Angeles home on Airbnb for two years, at $180 per night, and tried to stay under the 14-day tax exclusion - so around $2.5k per year - pretty much enough to pay for a small trip. Most of that money went to flights, and accommodations with Airbnb hosts in cities we visited on vacation. In 2018, we started listing our property for film and photo rentals, and we now make between $3k - $4k per month. We don't use Airbnb anymore as hosts - it just doesn't pay enough to make the time investment worthwhile."
- Jennifer Rodrigues, host on Giggster.com
While this anecdote doesn't represent the income opportunity of all property owners (with average monthly earnings on Giggster closer to $1.8k), unless you are able to maintain an occupancy of 80-90% on Airbnb, film location sites like Giggster are almost always going to provide a greater income opportunity than STRs.
Charging $240 per night on Airbnb in Los Angeles would put you in the 90th percentile for all listings in the city in terms of price per night. The average is only $137. While that's a decent chunk of change, breaking things down on an hourly basis makes Airbnb a minimum wage job for most hosts.
Popular Airbnb properties like this breathtaking mid century modern home, which are charging $10.80 per hour on Airbnb could be charging $260 per HOUR renting for film productions on websites like Giggster.
And this opportunity isn't only limited to Malibu mansions and hilltop estates - high-earning Giggster locations come in all shapes and sizes. We’re proud to offer professional content creators the most diverse, and most easily searchable library of film and event locations.
STR sites like Airbnb and VRBO are built around one-size fits all spaces, that cater to casual vacationers renters. While their library of locations is compelling compared to standard hotel stays, almost all of their libraries are residential, well-designed and in high-traffic tourist areas. If you own a house in San Pedro (like the craftsman above) or Van Nuys, you're income potential on Airbnb is going to be almost nil, even if you own a million dollar home. Giggster gives you a lane to earn immediate income, as professional location renters typically prefer low-traffic areas where filming can proceed without interruptions. This also means a huge opportunity for renting out off-beat spaces, particularly spaces with abandoned or vintage decor and commercial categories like warehouses, restaurants and churches.
Giggster's site borrows a lot inspiration from Airbnb, but also adds a variety of helpful features to boost discoverability. Without full-text search function (which is at the center of Giggster's search) it's a lot slower to find the specific features often required for a commercial project. While vacationers just want a "nice place to stay" film renters seek specific items and details tied to their script/storyboard.
Giggster was custom built for professional renters - so our location search is extremely powerful. We have thousands of specific keywords for our locations that pull from detailed host categorizations, location descriptions, and advanced image-recognition technology. Our property owning hosts love this feature because it helps boost discoverability, and gives even new listings a shot at landing a big booking.
" 34% of new Giggster hosts have a first booking that exceeds $2,000 in total payout, and 14% have a first booking that exceeds $4,000."
In addition to boasting a more robust library, full text search is one of the biggest timesavers on Giggster and a commonly cited example of why professional renters prefer us over finding locations on Airbnb, Craigslist or traditional filming location agencies. With Giggster, you can type exactly what you need and we’ll show you pictures in search, so you can quickly compare options and find the one that best matches for your vision for the perfect pool party, fashion shoot, music video or whatever.
Interested to see what similar properties to yours are charging on Giggster? Explore our library by clicking here.
The Industry's Best Customer Service
Hosting a production or corporate event can be stressful, and we’re always here to help. We review all booking inquiries and will be there to intervene and lend assistance if anything goes wrong. From last-minute cancellations to issues with card payments, to uncooperative renters or neighbors, our Venice-based team is always just a phone call away. If you have a top-tier property (typically valued at $3 million and above), we also offer full end-to-end concierge services, including help with pricing negotiations, and coordination of permits, insurance, and site representatives.
Giggster's willingness to offer full hosting support, as opposed to Airbnb's do-it-yourself model has a lot to do with the history of our companies. Giggster was founded in Los Angeles with the vision of blending the technology advantage of Airbnb with the white glove service of traditional location agencies. From day one, our focus on professional production has always meant providing a level of concierge service and building trust and respect in both the production industry and with our community of property owners.
While Airbnb and Giggster are competitors for certain types of bookings (parties and baby showers remain a popular booking type on Airbnb) there isn’t a tremendous amount of overlap between our two services. Which means that if you’re a casual host looking for some extra income, Giggster is going to be an excellent complement to your earnings through Airbnb.
Will I have to host adult content?
The short answer is no. Just like with Airbnb, you have complete control over the bookings you accept. While Giggster productions sometimes do involve nudity (we've hosted numerous Playboy shoots, including the 2018 Playmate of the Year shoot at our Cupid's Big Eighties Mansion) the vast majority of our productions are for PG-rated commercial work. Our renter community includes production companies, agencies, and freelance content creators as well as big name brands such as Netflix, Disney, Hulu, Snapchat, TNT, NBC Universal, H&M, Adidas, Spotify, Playboy, Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, and Neiman Marcus. Our popularity and reputation within the higher end of the location market allow us great leverage with top-tier renters in Los Angeles and New York as well as the experience to know how to deliver exceptional customer service for even the most demanding shoots and events.
Peace of Mind - with PHONE Support
Hosting a 20 person film crew at your house is going to be more stressful than hosting Japanese newlyweds on their honeymoon. At Giggster we’ve tried to anticipate the most complex aspects of the booking process, by serving as an all-in-one destination to coordinate bookings, manage permits, purchase insurance and source third-party vendors like matting and catering services. We keep these add-ons 100% optional, allowing you to cater the requirement of each booking to parameters of the shoot.
"Just like with Airbnb, hosting on Giggster puts you in complete control of the projects you book, and the rates you charge. If you want to double your day rate for a specific inquiry, or charge production extra to send your pets to doggie daycare - you can."
If anything ever does go wrong, our team of location agents are here to ensure that your property is protected and that the hosts always adhere to the terms of the location contract. Like Airbnb, all of Giggster’s location payments are managed through the platform, providing an extra level of security against faulty claims and potential disputes.
While these types of scenarios are few and far, it’s always nice to have a safety net in place. Giggster’s best-in-class renter protection services and on-demand support, are a key differentiator from larger rental services like Airbnb, and one of the reasons why we’re trusted by the industry’s top photographers, agencies and brands.