ROSS-SHIRE householders are cashing in on spare rooms to the cumulative tune of millions of pounds every year thanks to the popularity of an online booking platform.
Kyle of Lochalsh and Ullapool both figure prominently in Airbnb’s Top 15 Scottish destinations, putting an average £3000 into the pockets of hosts with successful listings and worth an estimated £483 million to Scotland’s economy last year.
In Kyle of Lochalsh, the gateway to Skye, the local economy was boosted by £4.5 million, with the average host earning £3000.
Total host earnings for the area are put at £1.3 million for the last year.
In Ullapool, the average listing earned £4800 over the last year for householders with spin-off economic activity for the area put at £2.3 million. Hosts in Ullapool pulled in a total of £500,000 from listings ranging from eco-tents to private cottages.
In the Scottish rankings, Kyle is placed eighth and Ullapool 12th.
Edinburgh tops the list followed by Glasgow, Inverness, the Isle of Skye and Oban. And while many of the traditional jewels in Scotland’s crown feature, the platform, which first emerged in San Francisco nine years ago, says it’s proving a boost to hosts in less well-known areas.
Natasha Mytton Mills, Airbnb’s UK policy manager, said: "This data shows that it’s not only the most enduringly popular tourist destinations that are thriving, but also that guests on Airbnb are keen to travel the less trodden path and meet real Scottish families."
The firm is pushing its Experiences programme which allows people to sign up to share their interests, hobbies, and passions with visitors from around the world.
The breakdown reveals that Scottish hosts have earned £113.4 million with 1.4 million people using the Airbnb platform to visit Scotland.
Canny householders are also cashing in on world-class events on their doorsteps, such as The Open, golf’s oldest major championship, held in Carnoustie this July.
Airbnb’s Experiences is set to expand across the country following a successful launch in Edinburgh with Visit Scotland earlier this year.
That allows people to share interests as bookable activities providing visitors with the opportunity to see the true character of the local area through the eyes of those living there.