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Airbnb's mega-earners shock average host

A Sydney host who has happily let out two modest properties for years on Airbnb is shocked a fellow operator in the NSW capital is earning a huge $5.3 million annually across 247 listings.

"I'm not sure how that's even happening to be honest - how do they own that many properties," said Noa Peer who has two one-bedroom Surry Hills apartments listed on Airbnb.

Ms Peer and her partner have listed their two properties for between $116 and $160 a night for nearly three years and say Airbnb makes them more money than having fixed tenants.

She was initially drawn to the personalised approach of the accommodation website and is surprised it's increasingly being used by what Airbnb terms "next generation property managers".

Ms Peer and her partner initially only rented out their properties on weekends but demand grew fast.

She noted the average annual takings for each of the 247 listings operated by the country's top earner in Sydney "wasn't that high" once you broke down the numbers.

"It's not heaps of money - about $21,000 a property," she said.

The small-time operator also questioned whether the bigger players on Airbnb were able to offer the level of personalised service she prides herself on.

But Airbnb Australia manager Sam McDonagh insists two-thirds of listings are still people sharing the home they live in.

He says property managers are generally managing people's homes and taking some of the work out of being a host by, for example, providing linen and cleaning services.

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia this week told reporters in Sydney it was a "misconception" that the sharing platform involved property groups renting out entire apartments full-time.

The figures detailing how much money leading hosts make come from AirDNA, which is a company that crunches the numbers based on data from Airbnb.