Airbnb in DC: 2016 Year in Review REPORT


Across all eight wards of the Washington, DC, home sharing has and continues to bring unmatched economic opportunities — from our recent record breaking week of guest arrivals to the unique connections created among our diverse community of hosts and the District’s thriving small businesses.

As the world’s leading community driven hospitality company, Airbnb looks forward to the positive impact our hosts will have on the DC’s tourism industry, the additional foot traffic our guests will bring to neighborhood restaurants and cafes, and the affordability our listings will create for families looking to visit the nation’s capital.

The following report is a review of the positive economic impact the Airbnb community had on Washington, DC during 2016.

Summary of Key Findings

  • Home sharing via Airbnb generated over $209 million in economic activity in the District of Columbia.
  • Airbnb hosts earned nearly $59 million by sharing their homes with families, business travelers, and other visitors.
  • Nearly $160 million was spent by Airbnb guests at DC restaurants, cafes, shops, and other small businesses.
  • Over 287,000 Airbnb guests visited Washington, DC during 2016 — an increase of almost 80% from the previous year.
  • East of the Anacostia River hosts earned $1.3 million in extra income to aid their families.
  • The top cities of origin for Airbnb guests included New York, Los Angeles, Houston, London and Seattle.

DC Welcomes Over 287,000 Airbnb Guests

2016 was a big year for Washington, DC residents, small business community, and the thousands of travelers who help to solidify the nation’s capital as world class destination for families, fun, and culture.  

From sports to fine dining, last year gave the District new opportunities to showcase its unique beauty and diversity — including the debut of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Washington Nationals run during the MLB’s Playoff Series, Bon Appétit naming DC “Restaurant City of the Year,” and the 40th anniversary of the National Air and Space Museum’s opening.

All these events and more lead to over 287,000 Airbnb guests visited Washington, DC during 2016 — an increase of almost 80% from the previous year.

Over $209 Million in Local Economic Activity

Home sharing guests chose Airbnb when they travel because of their desire to “live like a local” and experience cities and neighborhoods in unique and authentic ways. This activity in turn helps to spread tourism dollars to small businesses that might otherwise not have an opportunity for additional foot traffic.

Nearly 1,800 DC restaurants are featured in Airbnb guidebooks, with 66 percent of these establishments located outside of the city’s main hotel districts. And a recent Airbnb study found that in the 12 months ending on October 1, 2016, Airbnb guests helped Washington, DC restaurants earn over $50 million. 1

During 2016, Airbnb’s home sharing community generated over $209 million in economic activity across the District’s eight wards — an increase of over 72 percent compared to 2015. 2 This figure includes nearly $59 million earned by Airbnb hosts and over $150 million spent by Airbnb guests at DC small business, including restaurants, cafes, and retail shops.

Over 200 DC Small Businesses Support Home Sharing

The District of Columbia alone is home to more than 68,200 small businesses and these establishments make up 92 percent of the businesses in the city. They bring vitality to our neighborhoods, along with jobs — employing over 233,800 people. 3

Airbnb has committed to including its local host and guest community in supporting the economic and cultural lifelines that small businesses provide. And by offerings families and other visitors an affordable way to stay in and around the nation’s capital, the money travelers save results in additional economic activity for business owners and their employees.

Over $150 million was spent by Airbnb guests at DC restaurants, cafes, and retail shops. As a result of this positive impact to their bottom line, over 200 small businesses across all eight wards of the District have signed a letter of support for Airbnb’s presence in their communities, and responsible home sharing among their patrons and neighbors.

During 2016, Airbnb guests spent the following in the respective DC wards in which they stayed:

BrandonNew Orleans
MauraNew York
LaurenSan Francisco

DC Guests from Across the Globe

Since February 2015, Airbnb’s host and guest community have contributed over $12 million in hotel and occupancy taxes to the District of Columbia. In addition to bringing increased tourism and tax revenue, Airbnb is an important option for cities and other communities looking to expand their ability to host major events.

And many of these guests will stay in areas and neighborhoods that don’t typically see significant tourism revenue during major events. In most cities, over 75% of Airbnb listings are outside the main hotel districts. For the 2016, the following are the top cities of origin for guest bookings in Washington, DC:

  • NYC
  • Los Angeles
  • Philadelphia
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Atlanta
  • Houston
  • London


1 Airbnb guests spend $4.5 billion on local restaurants in major cities, October 2016

2 Economic activity is calculated as the total number of guest nights times the average daily spending for Airbnb guests traveling to Washington, DC ($146), plus total host earnings.

3 District of Columbia Small Business Profile, 2016

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