LULING, Texas (KXAN) — Inflation has hit several small businesses hard throughout Central Texas, cutting into their bottom line.

Yet, a growing trend has emerged as an innovative way for businesses to earn extra income.

Lots of local distilleries, breweries and wineries are letting travelers in trailers stay on their property for free.

Those overnight stays are booked through Harvest Hosts, an RV club.

To help its local business partners earn extra income, Harvest Hosts encourages guests to buy an item from the small businesses before leaving in the morning for the next leg of their trip.

Jose Baptista and his wife Ines are Harvest Hosts members. They said they frequently take their camping trailer to travel throughout the Lone Star State.

“This is one way to get out of the house and bring your house with you, so to speak,” he said.

The couple drove to Luling this week, and set up an overnight campground at AFT Distillery.

“You get to stay for free and usually get to see something really unique,” Baptista said.

Harvest Hosts Chief Operating Officer Wes Clark said the app has provided a big boost for around 50 local businesses within the greater Austin area.

“It’s been a lifeline for a lot of the hosts out there, suddenly you’re able to access this huge RV market,” he said. “These travelers are coming through, eager to support local businesses.”

Alexandra Cantwell owns AFT Distillery, a mom and pop operation that specializes in selling brandy.

“We can almost say we survived because of Harvest Hosts,” she said. “In 2021, almost 65-70% of our income came from hosting overnight guests.”

Throughout the post-pandemic travel boom, booking a campground has been tough at times.

“Reserving campgrounds has gotten more competitive,” Clark said. “If there are available spaces, you tend to have to book them early.

“Instead, Harvest Hosts is able to come in and help fill that gap if you need a stay at night or if you’re traveling between locations.”

For Baptista, the best part of his traveling experience is supporting small business owners.

“It’s usually their absolute passion,” he concluded. “How nice it is to help somebody fulfill their dream.”

Harvest Hosts only generates revenue from its memberships, which cost $99 dollars a year.

By the same token, Austin’s small businesses are earning an average of $13,000 a year in extra income through the partnership with the app.