Supporting Small Business in San Francisco

Earlier today, Airbnb shared the following email with hundreds of San Francisco small business owners, merchant associations and community organizations.

Dear San Francisco Small Business Owner:

You’re one of the hundreds of small business owners who support Airbnb in San Francisco, so we wanted you to be the first to know about new research that shows how home sharing supports businesses like yours and makes San Francisco more affordable for more families.

Airbnb got started in 2008 when our co-founders struggled to make their rent. Since then, we’ve heard from families across the city who use Airbnb to help pay the bills. For many people, sharing their home on Airbnb is the only way they can afford to stay in the city they love.

We’ve also heard from you about how Airbnb guests visit small businesses in neighborhoods from the Outer Sunset to the OMI and the Bayview – neighborhoods that haven’t traditionally benefited from tourism in the past. These anecdotes confirm what we’ve always known: that the majority (72%, in fact) of Airbnb guests are staying outside of traditional hotel districts and in the neighborhoods where so many of you own small businesses.

We wanted to know more about how our hosts and guests are making our economy stronger, so we asked the Land Econ Group to study Airbnb’s economic impact throughout San Francisco. Here’s what they found:

  • The Airbnb community contributed nearly $469 million to the San Francisco economy last year.
  • The average Airbnb host earns $13,000 per year hosting – money they use to pay the bills and stay in San Francisco, and shop at businesses like yours.
  • The Airbnb community supports 3,600 jobs at the local neighborhood businesses they patronize.
  • 72% of Airbnb properties are outside of traditional hotel districts, in neighborhoods that haven’t benefitted from tourism in the past.
  • The typical Airbnb property is booked about 6.5 nights per month, underscoring the point that these are people who are simply sharing space in the home in which they live.

Over the last three years alone, Airbnb’s economic impact in San Francisco has grown from $56 million to $469 million annually, a more than eight-fold increase.

Our study also found that Airbnb guests spend more time and money in the city than the typical hotel guests. Check out this chart:

Airbnb Guests: $1,223
Hotel Guests: $931

Airbnb Guests: 5.0 nights
Hotel Guests: 3.5 nights

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people stay in Airbnb properties across the city. For these guests, San Francisco becomes a special place for two reasons: the warm hospitality they find in their San Franciscan hosts and the delicious meals, unique experiences, and vital services they discover at your businesses. San Francisco’s small businesses are the backbone of this community. We’re proud Airbnb’s community is helping businesses like yours and making this city a little more affordable for thousands of residents, and countless more visitors – many of whom would not have come without an affordable, local travel option.

Thank you again for your partnership. As we update and add to this data in the future, we will make sure you’re the first to know. If you have additional questions, or thoughts about strengthening our partnership, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


David Owen