The Impacts of

Home Sharing
in Seattle

Contents

Executive Summary / 2
The Sharing Economy / 4
Airbnb Community Overview / 6
Economic Impacts / 12
Conclusion / 26
Methodology and Data Sources / 30

1

Executive Summary

Airbnb hosts in Seattle have been welcoming guests into their
homes since 2009. Over the past six years, Seattle residents have
formed a vibrant Airbnb community, sharing unique experiences
with travelers from around the world.
The following report examines the impacts of Airbnb and its
community in Seattle. Economic impacts have been evaluated to
understand how Airbnb fits into the city. The analysis is based on
all travel to Seattle during the year-period from August 2014 to
July 2015.

Airbnb’s community in Seattle has significant
positive economic impacts.
Economic Impacts Daytime spending by Airbnb
guests and income earned by Airbnb hosts
impacts the economy at large, the tourism
industry, neighborhoods, and local households.
This report evaluates these economic impacts.

$178M Total economic impact
1,700 Jobs supported as a result
of Airbnb guest spending

Executive Summary 3

The Sharing Economy

Airbnb and our community are part of the new Sharing
Economy, a movement that enables residents to access new
economic opportunities, promotes entrepreneurship, strengthens
communities and conserves resources—all aspects of urban life
in which cities have invested significantly. It is fueled by network
technology and social tools, which are redefining the ways that
goods and services are exchanged and created amongst citizens,
businesses and governments.
Residents can share their underused assets with others willing
to pay to use them; individuals can co-create, collaborate and
participate more easily, enabling affordable access to resources of
all kinds. Not only is this movement promoting sustainability by
encouraging the re-use of existing resources, it also thrives across
all socio-economic levels, allowing ordinary people to benefit from
new economic opportunities. The Sharing Economy is about how
resources are used, how hospitality is exchanged, how residents
are empowered, and how economic opportunities are distributed
across diverse neighborhoods. These values are at the heart of who
we are.

Sharing is not the end but the means to
something bigger­­—smart, inclusive,
sustainable growth.
Mariana Mazzucato, R.M. Phillips Professor in Economics of Innovation,
University of Sussex, United Kingdom, OECD Forum 2014

The Sharing Economy 5

Airbnb Community Overview

Airbnb’s Community in Seattle

Founded in August of 2008, Airbnb is a trusted community
marketplace for people to list and book accommodations in more
than 35,000 cities around the world. Airbnb connects travelers to
unique, local experiences, at any price point. On any given night,
more than 140,000 people from more than 190 countries are
traveling on Airbnb around the world.

AIRBNB LISTINGS IN SEATTLE

AIRBNB AT A GLANCE: SEATTLE IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR

2,900
Hosts

$30M
Host Income

151,000
Inbound Guests

173,400
Outbound Guests

Inbound guests are all visitors to a location. Outbound guests are residents who live in a given location who have used Airbnb to travel elsewhere.

Community Overview 7

Airbnb’s Host Community

Between August 2014 and July 2015, 2,900 Seattle hosts welcomed
guests into their homes. These hosts reflect the diverse Seattle
community. The average host is 45 years old, with a large
percentage working in art, design, and creative services, as well
as education and health services. While Airbnb hosts are highly
educated, roughly one in three hosts earns less than $75,000 per
year in household income.

4+13+1617615

HOST ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME

Prefer not to say

$200,000 or more

15%

3%
4%

13%

13%

16%

$150,000 to $199,999

$100,000 to $149,999

Under $25,000
$25,000 to $49,999

$50,000 to $74,500

7%
10%

16%

17%

$74,500 to $99,999

7%

Airbnb hosts
come from diverse
income brackets,
with a significant
portion below area
median income.
(36% of hosts are below 120 AMI,
< $79,900/year)
8%

HOST OCCUPATIONS
6%

Financial Activities

7%

Leisure and Hospitality

9%

Information Technology

15%

Professional and Business Services
Occupations representing fewer than
5 percent of hosts, and Other

17%

Education and Health Services

18%

Art, Design, and Creative Services

5% Prefer not to answer
4% Government
4% Trade, Transportation and Utilities
3% Manufacturing and Construction
1% Student
11% Other

One third of
Airbnb hosts
work in art,
design, and
creative services,
or in education
and healthcare.

Source: Airbnb host survey.
Seattle median household income is based on DP03: Selected Economic Characteristics of the 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates for Seattle inflated to 2015 $.

The typical Airbnb host rents out the home in which he or she
lives. Just over two-thirds, 67 percent rent their entire home or
apartment (for exmple, while they are away), with 30 percent
renting a private room, and 3 percent renting a shared room.

I was nervous to host before I tried it, but I finally decided to
test it out when I was away on a costly out of town trip. My
first experience was so easy and successful, now it feels like a
“no brainer” to host when I’m already going to be out of town.
Airbnb Host in Seattle, age 27


It makes sense that instead of leaving a space empty when we
don’t have family/friends here, we can earn money on an asset
that we own.
Airbnb Host in Seattle, age 63

My place would otherwise be empty when I travel. Why not
collect some extra income?
Airbnb Host in Seattle, age 33

HOUSEHOLD TYPE

Other
Secondary residence

80+10+
3%

10%

The typical Airbnb
host rents out the
home in which he
or she lives

5%

6%

10%

10%

80%

Primary residence

(including in-law units that are part
of a primary residence)

7%

Community Overview 9

Airbnb’s Guest Community

Since 2009, more than 295,000 guests have traveled to Seattle with
Airbnb. The number of guests using Airbnb has grown steadily
since 2009, with visitation more than doubling
every year. In the previous year alone, August 2014 to July 2015,
151,000 guests traveled to Seattle with Airbnb.

GUEST REASONS FOR VISIT

1 3%
8%
7%

3%

Visiting Friends/Family
Business or Conference
Short-term housing while
relocating
Job Hunting/Interview

82 percent of guests
visited for vacation
and leisure or to see
friends and family.

69+3+7813
69%

Vacation / Leisure

GUEST GROWTH
150,000
124,211
(July, 2015)

120,000
90,000

Since 2009, more
than 295,000 guests
have visited Seattle
with Airbnb
With year-over-year growth rates at more
than 100 percent since 2009

60,000
30,000
0
2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

92%

71%

71%

of Airbnb guests are looking
to “live like a local”

of Airbnb guests looking to
explore a specific neighborhood

of all trips involve families
traveling with partners, children,
relatives or friends

GUEST ORIGIN

One in five
Airbnb guests to
Seattle is an
international guest

8% Canada
7% Europe
80% US
5% Seattle
75% Rest of US
1% South &

Latin America

3% Asia
0.2% Africa

2% Australia

Source: Airbnb guest survey and Airbnb bookings data

Community Overview 11

Economic Impacts

Airbnb’s business model has far reaching economic impacts that
benefit a) the city overall, b) the tourism industry, c) neighborhood
businesses and d) local households.
Airbnb helps bring one of the world’s most economically powerful
industries right to the front door of local residents. In the process,
visitors are connected to a more diverse and affordable range
of experiences, local households earn additional income, and
spending is distributed throughout the city among businesses and
neighborhoods that do not traditionally benefit from tourism.

Overall Economic Impact

Host income and visitors’ daytime spending has a significant
economic impact in the economy. The following figures quantify
the direct spending in Seattle, based on Airbnb travel between
August 2014 and July 2015.

$178M
Total economic impact

1,700
Total jobs supported

The $178 million of total economic impact includes direct, indirect, and induced
spending. The amount of direct spending to Seattle households and businesses
between August 2014 and July 2015 alone is significant.

$30M Hosting income earned
by Seattle households
$108M Direct spending at
Seattle businesses

Source: Airbnb booking data for the time period between August 2014 and July 2015.

The emerging peer-to-peer, collaborative
“sharing economy” will be a significant
segment of the country’s future
economic activity, stimulating new
consumption, raising productivity and
catalyzing individual innovation and
entrepreneurship.
Arun Sundararajan, New York University Stern School of Business professor
“Trusting the ‘Sharing Economy’ to Regulate Itself”. New York Times Economix Blog,
March 3, 2014.

Economic Impacts 15

Impacts to the Tourism Industry

Airbnb attracts new visitors, who stay longer, spend more,
and are more likely to return to Seattle. These Airbnb visitors
fundamentally strengthen the tourism industry, creating
additional opportunities for growth without requiring new
investment or infrastructure on the part of the city.

When I relocated to Seattle, I was able to find affordable
temporary housing via Airbnb while I apartment hunted. My
hosts were so welcoming to me, both into their home and to
this new city, with recommendations for food, sights, and fun.
Airbnb made my transition so easy!
Sarah F., Airbnb Guest in Seattle, age 23

Being a part of different communities around the world and
great cities you really get the fully life of a city native. I love ...
being able to cook and enjoy different cities like its your own is
amazing.
Sammy T., Airbnb Guest in Seattle, age 26

Airbnb visitors
stay longer and
spend more.

Airbnb Visitors
$945
Total Spending
per visitor per trip

Typical Hotel Guest
$687
Total Spending
per overnight hotel guest to Seattle

$263

$200

Total spending per
visitor per day

Daily daytime spending
per visitor
+

$130

$229

Daily daytime spending
per hotel guest

Total spending
per hotel guest per day

+

$99

$63

Daily accommodation
spending per hotel guest

Daily accommodation
spending per visitor
×

3.6
Average nights
per stay

×

3.0
Average nights
per stay

Sources: Airbnb guest survey, Visit Seattle data (provided to Visit Seattle by Longwoods International annd Tourism Economics, 2014)
Numbers may not multiply clearly due to rounding.

Economic Impacts 17

Impacts in Neighborhoods

Airbnb distributes economic impacts to neighborhoods that
have not traditionally benefited from tourism spending. With
Airbnb hosts across more than 80 Seattle neighborhoods, Airbnb
visitors are staying in and exploring places they might never have
otherwise visited.

71%

74%

93%

of guests were drawn to Airbnb
because they wanted to stay in a
specific neighborhood

of guests stayed in Airbnb listings
because the location was more
convenient than a comparable
hotel

of Airbnb listings are located
outside of the traditional hotel
districts

42+58

42%
of Airbnb guest’s daytime
spending is spent in the
neighborhood in which they stay

=
$526
Spent per guest per trip in the
neighborhood in which he stays

The ypical hotel districts are defined as Seattle zip code 98101 and 98104, where most of the hotels within the city are clustered.

As a result of where
guests stay, more
money is spent at
local neighborhood
businesses.

Guests are much more likely to explore neighborhoods off the
beaten track.
Hosts encourage this by recommending alternative neighborhoods
to their guests, with 99 percent of hosts preparing personalized
recommendations, and all of those hosts recommending local
neighborhood favorites.

AIRBNB GUEST STAYS BY NEIGHBORHOOD

1-1,000

5,001-10,000

1,001-5000

10,001-20,000

AIRBNB LISTINGS VS. HOTELS

>20,000

Airbnb listings
Hotels

I love being able to share my city with people.
Seattle Airbnb Host, age 53

Hotel location data from by Hotelsbase.org API

Economic Impacts 19

Neighborhood Case Studies

Between August 2014 and July 2015, guests stayed in and spent
money across many of Seattle’s neighborhoods.

Capitol Hill
342 Local hosts
$3.5M Total income to hosts
16,900 Inbound guests
$5.0M Total spent at local businesses by guests

Columbia City
46 Local hosts
$478,600 Total income to hosts
3,100 Inbound guests
$935,600 Total spent at local businesses by guests

West Seattle
120 Local hosts
$911,500 Total income to hosts
4,900 Inbound guests
$1.5 million Total spent at local businesses by guests

Source: Airbnb host and guest surveys; Airbnb bookings data; photography provided care of Choose Seattle

Ballard
161 Local hosts
$1.7M Total income to hosts
11,200Inbound guests
$3.4M Total spent at local businesses by guests

Queen Anne
157 Local hosts
$1.8M Total income to hosts
8,000 Inbound guests
$2.4M Total spent at local businesses by guests

Source: Airbnb host and guest surveys; Airbnb bookings data; photography provided care of Choose Seattle

Economic Impacts 21

Impact on Residents and Households

Airbnb helps many Seattle residents make ends meet. The typical
Airbnb host in Seattle earns $8,000, renting out all or part of her
home about 79 nights per year. This modest, yet significant amount
of income has helped more than half of hosts, 60 percent, stay in
their homes.

34+17+8125210

HOSTING INCOME USE

Other: $790

7%

10%

Emergency fund: $160
Cleaners for Airbnb
hosting: $370

Extra spending
money: $1,000

34%

2%
13%

5%

13%
8%

5%

Vacation: $970

Hosts use more than
half of their Airbnb
income to pay their
rent/mortgage
and other regular
household bills and
expenses

12%

19%
8%

Long-term savings: $670

Rent/mortgage:
$2,730

17%

Other regular household
expenses (bills, groceries,
etc): $1,330

For the next 3 years, I’m using [my Airbnb income] to get my
daughter through college without her taking out loans.
Seattle Airbnb Host, age 47

Source: Airbnb host survey; Airbnb bookings data

Airbnb also enables hosts to afford to take professional chances
and pursue their dreams. Over one third, 37 percent, of Airbnb
hosts are non-traditionally employed, with 19 percent saying
that income from hosting has allowed them to support themselves
while starting a new business.

37+63

37%
Percent of hosts who are
freelancers, self-employed, or
employed part-time

20+80

19%
Percent of hosts using Airbnb
income to support themselves
while starting a new business

I use [my Airbnb income] to pay my mortgage so I can continue
to work as an underpaid/unpaid artist.

Income from Airbnb has given me the freedom to write my
book, which will be launched next month.

Seattle Airbnb Host, age 42

Seattle Airbnb Host, age 68

Source: Airbnb host survey

Economic Impacts 23

Airbnb have been great for us and our family. We
use our house most of the year and only rent it for
the months when we are traveling, and it has been
a great experience for us.
Seattle Airbnb Host Rosemary C. and her husband, retired couple

I would have lost my home without Airbnb. I can
never thank you enough.
Seattle Airbnb Host, age 68

Economic Impacts 25

While Seattle’s economy and community have
already started to enjoy the benefits of homesharing, the practice is still just getting started.
There is exciting potential to harness the sharing
economy’s momentum and growth for even
greater good.

27

Data Sources and Methodology

Geography

Data Sources

This report focuses entirely on the City of Seattle. Surveys were sent to
hosts and guests within the city limits; public and bookings data are for
the city.

The findings in this report are based on extensive data about Airbnb
hosts and visitors to Seattle between August 2014 and July 2015.
Key data sources include:

Economic Impact Methodology
The economic impacts presented in this report were calculated
using the RIMS II multipliers developed by the U.S. Department of
Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The analysis is based
on the latest available multipliers, from 2010.
Hosts’ Airbnb income spending is distributed across six household
spending categories: Rent/Mortgage, Other Household Expenses,
Long-term Savings, Vacation, Extra Spending Money, Other. Guests’
daytime spending is distributed across six industries: Gastronomy,
Groceries, Shopping, Other Leisure Activities, Transportation, and
Other Services.
The economic impacts presented in this report were calculated by the
Land Econ Group (LEG).

Acknowledgments
Many thanks to input and feedback provided by Visit Seattle.

Host Survey
Email survey of 159 Seattle hosts who hosted guests between
July 2014 and June 2015. These results generated a 95 percent
confidence level and a confidence interval of +/- 8 percent.
Guest Survey
Email survey of 100 guests who traveled to Seattle between
July 2014 and June 2015. These results generated a 90 percent
confidence level and a confidence interval of +/- 10 percent.
Bookings Data
Proprietary Airbnb bookings data from August 2014 to July 2015 for
the City of Seattle.
Additional Data Sources
.. 2009-2013 5-Year American Community Survey,
DP03: Selected Economic Characteristics
.. Hotelsbase.org API data as of May 2013