Airbnb at the US Conference of Mayors’ Summer Meeting

In 2015, Airbnb launched the Community Compact, a document based on our core principles and informed by the lessons we’ve learned about how best to partner with cities. In the Compact, we pledge to:

  • Treat every city personally and help ensure our community pays its fair share of hotel and tourist taxes.
  • Build an open and transparent community.
  • Promote responsible home sharing to make cities stronger.

As part of our work under this Compact, this week Airbnb sponsored the 84th U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Summer Meeting in Indianapolis. The summer conference is attended by hundreds of mayors from across the U.S. Airbnb’s sponsorship of the conference  is just one part of the company’s commitment to work cooperatively with cities across the globe.

At the event, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs Chris Lehane addressed the conference and outlined the ways Airbnb can be a force for good for middle class Americans and a powerful partner to cities across the country.

As Chris noted in his presentation, Airbnb was created out of the economic dislocation of the Great Recession and has always been powered by everyday people who use what is typically their greatest expense — their housing — as a way to generate supplemental income. Airbnb can be an economic lifeline for these middle class households and Chris outlined some key facts about Airbnb hosts:

  • Nearly 13% of hosts from ten of the largest cities in the U.S. report that their income from hosting has helped them avoid eviction or foreclosure. That represents over 16,000 hosts in these cities.
  • Almost half of all Airbnb hosts makes less than $75,000 a year. The typical single property host rents their listing an average of 66 days per year.
  • A typical Airbnb host earns an additional $7,350/year, the equivalent of a 14% annual raise.
  • Half of Airbnb hosts say their hosting income has helped them afford to stay in their homes. More than half say they use their added Airbnb income as extra money to make ends meet.

Airbnb can also be a powerful economic partner for cities. To date, Airbnb is collecting and remitting hotel and tourist taxes in 190 cities, states, or other taxing jurisdictions around the world. We’ve already collected over $85 million in hotel, tourist, and occupancy taxes worldwide and we want to do more. Soon, Airbnb will begin collecting and remitting taxes in additional jurisdictions, including:

Cleveland, OH
Allegheny County, PA
Humboldt County, CA
Putnam County, FL
Taylor County, FL
Tompkins County, NY
Washington County, OR
Palm Desert, CA
Indio, CA
Sullivan County, NY

These jurisdictions are working with Airbnb to make the most of a new economic opportunity and we hope they’ll be joined by more cities in the future. By partnering with Airbnb to create clear tax rules for home sharing, the fifty largest cities in the United States could have collected a total of $200 million in hotel, tourist, and occupancy taxes from Airbnb in 2015. Even in the extremely unlikely event that the Airbnb community remained static at its current size, this would represent a total of $2 billion over 10 years in tax revenue for the fifty largest cities in the United States.

We look forward to working with city officials to establish programs for collecting and remitting tourist taxes, strengthening the cities and communities that Airbnb hosts call home. And we look forward to continuing to work with mayors from cities across America to be a powerful force for good.