Cook County Airbnb hosts earned $109 million in 2018 amid continued hotel growth

Airbnb, the world’s leading community driven hospitality company, announced today that its Cook County host community earned a combined $109 million in supplemental income while welcoming approximately 710,000 guest arrivals to the region in 2018.

This comes as local residents and homeowners increasingly embrace the home sharing platform as an opportunity to earn supplemental income and make ends meet. The typical Cook County hosts earns about $8,100 annually in supplemental income.

Yet, local data indicates that Airbnb and its host community appear to be complementing — rather than competing with — the Greater Chicago hotel industry. According to the most recent report from Choose Chicago, in 2018 Chicago hotels experienced explosive growth in guests, occupancy rate, demand, pricing and overall revenue — in parallel with home sharing rental activity. This suggests that Airbnb is opening up Chicago and its suburbs to a new slice of prospective tourists by catering to travelers less able to afford hotels, families who prefer to be together under one roof, and those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels — particularly the South and West Sides of Chicago.

In addition to the new income going into the pockets of Cook County Airbnb hosts, local governments throughout the region are also generating new revenue through a tax agreements that allow Airbnb to collect all applicable local taxes. Airbnb maintains separate tax agreements with Chicago, Cook County and the State of Illinois that allow Airbnb to collect and remit both the these complex local taxes on behalf of hosts and remit the revenue directly to the respective revenue departments. Airbnb also has agreements in place with Oak Park and Evanston to collect their respective taxes.

2018 brought the launch of Airbnb Plus — a selection of one-of-a-kind, design-focused Homes that have been inspected and verified in person against a 100+ point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design. Chicago was one of the original launch cities for Airbnb Plus, and available Plus listings can be found here.

Airbnb also significantly expanded Experiences throughout Cook County in 2018, offering handcrafted activities led by local experts in Chicago as well as a handful of suburbs. Airbnb Experiences is creating new economic opportunities for Cook County residents by allowing them to unlock their talents and interests and make money from them, catering to the hundreds of millions of people that use Airbnb’s platform to discover unique and authentic travel experiences. Experiences is expected to expand further throughout Chicagoland in 2019, and the Experiences currently available can be found here.

Additionally, in 2018 Airbnb announced the restaurants most often recommended to guests by Chicago Airbnb hosts (per Airbnb’s Guidebooks feature). All were in neighborhoods outside of The Loop and Near North Side, demonstrating the ability of local hosts to help drive business and revenue to small businesses throughout the entire city. Below is a breakdown:

  • Most Recommended Restaurant — Big Star (Wicker Park)
  • Most Recommended Pizzeria — Piece (Bucktown)
  • Most Recommended Coffee Shop — Wormhole (Bucktown)
  • Most Recommended Bakery — Bang Bang Pie Shop (Logan Square
  • Most Recommended Cocktail Lounge — The Green Mill (Uptown)
  • Most Recommended Pub — Dusek’s Board & Beer (Pilsen)
  • Most Recommended Brewery — Revolution Brewing (Logan Square)
  • Most Recommended Music Themed Club – Buddy Guy’s (South Loop)


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