287,000 Guests: Airbnb’s Impact on DC in 2016

by Nena Perry-Brown

287,000 Guests: Airbnb's Impact on DC in 2016: Figure 1
An Airbnb rental near 14th and U Street NW.

As Airbnb becomes an increasingly mainstream part of the traveling experience worldwide, it has also become a larger part of the DC tourist experience.

A new Airbnb study reports that over 287,000 Airbnb guests visited the District during 2016 — nearly 80 percent more than the 160,000 Airbnb guests in 2015.

287,000 Guests: Airbnb's Impact on DC in 2016: Figure 2

DC’s Airbnb hosts earned nearly $59 million on the service, including $1.3 million for hosts east of the Anacostia. Overall, the study calculates that Airbnb created over $209 million in economic activity in the city last year, a 72 percent increase over 2015. The flaw in this study, however, is that it doesn’t account for the commercial activity in the city that just moved from hotels, for example, to Airbnb rentals, an important point to consider when looking at the economic findings.

The top five cities of origin for visitors who use Airbnb were New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago. Airbnb reports that these guests spent nearly $160 million at retail shops and restaurants in the city. A large portion of that money went toward small businesses outside of the city’s typical hotel districts or tourist core.

287,000 Guests: Airbnb's Impact on DC in 2016: Figure 3
Money spent by Airbnb guests by Ward

After a record-breaking inauguration weekend last month, Airbnb’s 2017 numbers could be higher than those quoted in the report; however, with new regulations for the service under consideration, there is also the potential for this growth to slow down.

From a methodology standpoint, the Airbnb study measures economic activity by multiplying the average daily spending of Airbnb guests in DC ($146) by the total number of guest nights, then adding total host earnings.

See other articles related to: airbnb dc, airbnb

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/airbnbs_economic_impact_on_dc_in_2016/12147


  1. Dupont Offices 202-332-7323 said at 9:01 pm on Wednesday February 8, 2017:
    The positive financial impact of short-term rentals could be greater because this study only looks at one site... Airbnb. Also, many families who travel would not or could not afford to stay in a hotel (2 or 3 rooms) so would choose to vacation elsewhere, would stay with friends, or would choose to stay in MD or VA.
  1. NS said at 12:23 am on Thursday February 9, 2017:
    It would be interesting to know if the hotels lost any guests at all or it is all about "different strokes for different folks"... in other words, those people, who stay in the hotels would not stay in Airnbn and vice versa.

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