South by Southwest has always been one of the most important events on the Airbnb calendar. In the early years of Airbnb, experiences at SXSW inspired the founders to create several tools and features that form the backbone of the Airbnb product today. And historically Airbnb has been a popular choice for festival-goers looking for an authentic Austin experience.
2016 was no different. At this year’s SXSW festival, Airbnb added dynamic accommodations to a region that saw a massive influx of guests. And Airbnb guests created a significant economic impact in the Austin region.
SXSW was a prime example of the way that Airbnb hosts can dynamically add much-needed accommodations supply to cities hosting major events. Of the hosts that welcomed Airbnb guests for SXSW 2016, nearly 40% hosted for their first time. Another 15% hosted for the first time in at least six months. And these hosts are typically long-time Austin residents who take advantage of the influx in travelers to make some valuable supplemental income. In Austin, 85% of Airbnb hosts share the home in which they live, and the average Airbnb host is 37 years old and is a long time member of the community, having lived there for an average of 16 years.
All told, we estimate these first-time Airbnb hosts made roughly $4 million in income from reservations that spanned the SXSW festival. That is significant income for hosts, the vast majority of whom host occasionally to make ends meet. And 98% of Airbnb hosts in Austin recommend local businesses to guests staying in their listing, which means Airbnb guests are also spending money at neighborhood shops and restaurants, often in parts of the city that don’t typically see as much tourism activity. The typical Airbnb guests in Austin spends over $500 during their trip on restaurants, shops, and more in the local neighborhood around their listings.
Airbnb also presents a potential tax windfall for the city of Austin. We’ve worked together with cities around the world to establish programs to collect and remit hotel, occupancy, and tourist taxes on behalf of our hosts and guests. We are eager to partner with Austin to establish this initiative and help make the most of this new economic opportunity. According to our analysis of Airbnb booking data and local tax policies, by partnering with Airbnb to create clear tax rules for home sharing, Austin would have collected roughly $7 million in hotel, tourist, and occupancy taxes in 2015 by partnering with Airbnb.
We are proud to work with Austin and cities around the globe as they welcome visitors for major events. We believe this is just the beginning, and going forward, Airbnb will be a growing part of how cities host events like SXSW, the Olympics and more.