Report: Airbnb’s Ripple Effect on San Francisco’s Economy

The rent-out-your-home service, often used as a hotel alternative, has driven millions into San Francisco's economy.

Are your conference attendees staying at home — well, somebody’s home — rather than the hotel where you’re actually holding your event?

Based on the success of Airbnb in San Francisco, they’re far from alone. The company, which celebrated 10 million nights served back in June, says in a recent report that they’ve helped create nearly $56 million in extra spending in the region.

Other details from the report, written by HR&A Advisors for the company:

Spending more, staying longer: According to the study, Airbnb guests stay an average of 5.5 days and spend an average of $1,045 on basics such as food or transportation – in both cases, higher than hotels, where guests stayed 3.5 days and spent an average of $840.

Airbnb reaches outside of San Francisco’s traditional hotel hotbeds.

Keeping it in the neighborhood: As the graphic shows, Airbnb has had the effect of bringing business to neighborhoods outside of traditional hotel hotbeds. And more than 60 percent of the spending went to businesses in the neighborhoods being served.

Paying the bills: Where does the money go for those renting out their properties? It pays the rent. The study notes that 45 percent of Airbnb hosts used the money to pay bills such as rents, utilities, or mortgages.

Not everyone’s a fan of Airbnb’s growth, however. San Francisco Tenants Union Executive Director Ted Gullicksen, for example, said there was a danger with too many homes being used for short-term rentals — especially in an area where rents are already high.

“We’ve been working on this issue for years,” Gullicksen told the Huffington Post. “Even predating Airbnb, with companies renting out large blocks of rooms for their employees. But when these internet sites popped up, the problem spread like wildfire.”

On the other hand, such accommodations have been valuable for the region, because the supply of hotel rooms hasn’t kept up with the demand for short-term housing.

“We know that the sharing economy has had a positive impact on our thriving local economy and on our residents and small businesses throughout San Francisco,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee told the San Francisco Business Times. “Companies like Airbnb have partnered in promoting our diverse neighborhoods and neighborhood small businesses to visitors from around the world.”

Have you ever used Airbnb when traveling to a conference? Was the experience a good one? Let us know in the comments.

(photo by OuiShare/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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