Airbnb, the short-term rental platform, continued to grow in the Chicago market in 2017. And it isn't welcome news for the city's hotel industry.
For travelers who like the Airbnb experience, it is a positive sign to connect people to local culture, bring business to little-known neighborhoods, and provide unique travel experiences.
Airbnb's Chicago 2017 economic impact study states that Airbnb hosts' income totalled $77 million last year, up from the $67 million earned by hosts in 2016.
Airbnb hosts welcomed 500,000 guests in 2017, a significant jump from the 390,000 guests reported in 2016. Total Airbnb guest spending in 2017 was estimated to be $270 million, with average spending per day by Airbnb guests pegged at an estimated $171.
Airbnb operations in Chicago generated a total economic impact of $345 million in 2017, up from $331 million a year ago.
In their report, Airbnb takes pains to note that the proliferation of homesharing in Chicago has particularly benefited the city's South Side, where growth in guest arrivals in 2017 was up 70 percent compared to the previous year. Much of the South Side is more economically depressed than other parts of the city, and Airbnb looks to be serving as something of an economic stimulant.
Perhaps to ward off any more salvos aimed at Airbnb by Chicago's hotel industry, the home-sharing service included some upbeat data about Chicago's hotel business in its economic report.
Chicago's hotel industry has been particularly paranoid about the Airbnb threat since the service started gaining traction in Chicago. Per Airbnb, Chicago hotel occupancy increased to 75.19 percent in 2017, up from 72.1 percent in 2011. And Chicago annual hotel revenue has increased 39 percent since 2011, from $1.64 billion to $2.28 billion.
To make hotel companies feel a little less paranoid, Airbnb pointed out today that 94 percent of its Chicago listings are outside of the Loop, the epicenter of the city's hotel business.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb is now a presence in 65,001 cities in 191 countries around the world. If you're curious why it is called "Air" bnb, send us a message.