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Study: Airbnb establishing ‘illegal hotels’ in many markets

The company’s shift to whole-unit rentals leading to more multi-home hosts

Publised on: 15 March, 2017
By Ed Brock
About 81 percent of Airbnb's U.S. revenue comes from whole-unit rentals in which hosts are not present at the time of the rental, according to the American Hotel &  Lodging Association.About 81 percent of Airbnb's U.S. revenue comes from whole-unit rentals in which hosts are not present at the time of the rental, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

AIRBNB IS QUICKLY shifting from true home sharing to whole-unit rentals in which hosts are not present at the time of the rental, increasingly by hosts renting out multiple homes, according to a report from The American Hotel & Lodging Association. The trend is resulting in a rise of “illegal hotels,” unregulated properties operating in residential neighborhoods that disrupt communities, impact affordable housing and jeopardize safety and security for guests and neighbors, according to AHLA.

The study, “Hosts with Multiple Units – A Key Driver of Airbnb Growth,” conducted by CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research and funded by AHLA, found that 81 percent of Airbnb’s U.S. revenue – $4.6 billion – comes from whole-unit rentals. It also found that Airbnb hosts renting out two or more entire home units are the fastest growing segment of Airbnb’s business in the U.S., generating nearly $2 billion in revenue nationally in 2016. That’s 40 percent of Airbnb’s entire-unit national revenue and 37 percent of entire-unit revenue in the 13 markets studied, including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Hosts listing multiple homes for rent are the fastest growing segment of Airbnb’s business, with hosts with 10 or more properties generating a quarter of all multi-host revenue, roughly $175 million in the 13 markets studied. In the U.S., hosts renting out two or more entire-home units generated nearly $2 billion in revenue in 2016. In the 13 markets highlighted, revenue reached $700 million.

“Once upon a time Airbnb might have simply been a home sharing company, but this analysis shows that’s just a fairytale now,” said AHLA President and Chief Executive Officer Katherine Lugar. “This report provides a stark contrast to the picture that Airbnb presents to policymakers and the public and sheds light on why the company has largely refused to take even basic steps to stop illegal hotel operators, because these actors drive the overwhelming – and growing - portion of its revenue.”


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