Airbnb is an interesting business. If you have a spare room, or will be away, you can put your house, flat or spare room up to rent for short periods. There’s a feedback system for peace of mind and a 3% charge for the service. I’ve heard rave reviews from friends stateside who’ve used it and I expect we’ll hear much more of it here in the UK soon.
And a study by Airbnb shows that such a service brings genuine economic benefits to a local area, not least because the money spent on accomodation goes to local people. But also because, unlike people who stay in hotels (typically in the central or tourist district) Airbnb spreads the benefits to other neighbourhoods.
Airbnb’s study demonstrates that $56 million was spent by Airbnb travellers this year in San Francisco. That’s $12.7 million on rent that went to Airbnb hosts, plus $43.1 million spent on other things in San francisco: $11.8 million on food and drink, $10.8 million shopping, $9.8 million on services, $5.7 million on entertainment and $4.0 million on getting about. And according to the release about 14% would not have visited if not for Airbnb.
Airbnb’s Molly Turner said: “The money that travelers spend with hosts goes directly into the pockets of local resident, who spend the money, paying off their mortgage or buying a new guitar. And if travelers are staying in a neighborhood like the inner Richmond, they’re more likely to spend the money at the local San Francisco business than they are if they’re staying in traditional hotel neighborhoods.”