Airbnb Statistics: Global Impact and Growth For Hosts

WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero


In a little over a decade, Airbnb has transformed from a humble startup concept into a defining entity of the digital age, reshaping how we think about travel and accommodation. Founded in 2007, Airbnb started with a single rental. Now Airbnb statistics show a staggering 5.6 million active listings spread across the globe. These listings are managed by a community of 4 million hosts, catering to a user base that has surged past the 150 million mark.

The company’s story isn’t just about numbers though; it’s a testament to how technology can disrupt traditional industries and foster global connections. 

From the company’s inception to its impressive Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2020, Airbnb has undeniably left its footprint in every nook and cranny of the world. 

Key Airbnb demographics and data

Airbnb’s rise to prominence shows some truly astounding statistics. As a beacon of the sharing economy, Airbnb’s platform bridges communities across continents, breaking down barriers and fostering connections.

Airbnb’s global reach

  • Listings and Cities: With 5.6 million active listings, Airbnb’s footprint spans over 220 countries and regions, reaching at least 100,000 cities worldwide.
  • User Volume: The user base, which has swelled to 150 million, relies on Airbnb not just for vacation stays but also for distinctive, localized experiences. Since its inception, over a billion guests have experienced the unique offerings of Airbnb hosts.


  • Millennials lead the way: Approximately 60% of Airbnb’s user base consists of millennials. Their preference for experiential travel, as opposed to traditional tourist experiences, has significantly propelled Airbnb’s growth.
  • Diverse user base: Beyond the millennials, Airbnb appeals to a wide range of age groups and demographics. From solo travelers to families, from business travelers to backpackers, the platform’s versatility ensures its widespread relevance.

In the grand scheme of things, the story these numbers tell is clear: Airbnb has truly globalized the concept of ‘home away from home.’ Through its platform, travelers from different walks of life can find a comfortable place, a new adventure, or even a sense of belonging, no matter where they’re in the world.

Airbnb’s remarkable growth and journey to IPO

From its humble beginnings on an air mattress in San Francisco to its spectacular debut on Wall Street, Airbnb’s growth trajectory is a case study in entrepreneurial innovation, adaptability, and global expansion.

Initial days and founding

  • Birth of an idea: In 2007, co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia came up with the ingenious solution of renting out air mattresses in their apartment to three attendees of a local design conference, birthing the original concept of “Airbed & Breakfast.”
  • Company expansion: Recognizing the potential, they soon brought in the third founder, Nate Blecharczyk. The following year marked the official launch of “Airbed & Breakfast” at SXSW, a significant milestone in their journey.

Major milestones

  • 2009 Rebranding: In 2009, the company underwent a significant transformation, evolving from “Airbed & Breakfast” to the now globally recognized “Airbnb.” This year also marked their expansion beyond just rooms to entire homes and apartments.
  • 2010 Digital integration: With the growing influence of mobile technology, Airbnb introduced its mobile app in 2010, featuring the innovative “instant book” feature.
  • International reach: By 2011, the company had extended its services internationally, breaking geographic barriers and truly establishing itself as a global player.
  • 2017 Beyond accommodations: Airbnb introduced “Experiences,” diversifying their offerings and enabling local experts to share unique activities with travelers.

Journey to Wall Street

By 2019, Airbnb expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of “Hotel Tonight” for a whopping $4 billion. But 2020 would see both challenges and triumphs. Despite facing a 30% revenue drop due to COVID-19, Airbnb made a powerful statement with its IPO in December, boasting a valuation of $86.5 billion and opening at $146 per share.

Airbnb’s economic footprint worldwide

Airbnb’s influence on the global economy extends far beyond just the realms of travel and hospitality. By decentralizing the traditional lodging industry, Airbnb has driven economic growth in countless communities, supported local businesses, and provided millions with supplementary income. This section sheds light on the widespread economic impact Airbnb has generated across the globe.

Direct economic contributions

  • Local spending: According to data released by Airbnb, guests poured over $25 billion into local cafes and restaurants in 2018 alone. This direct spending stimulates local economies, bolstering small businesses and creating jobs.
  • Superhost earnings: In February 2023, Airbnb announced a new milestone – 1 million Superhosts across 200 countries and territories. These Superhosts brought in a staggering $23 billion in income from October 2021 to September 2022.
  • Host earnings: In 2021, the average host who welcomed at least one guest earned $9,600 yearly – not a bad side hustle.

Economic impact by country (2018 data)

  • Top contributors: The USA led the pack with an economic impact of $33.8 billion, followed by countries like France ($10.8 billion), Spain ($6.9 billion), and Italy ($6.4 billion). Even smaller nations, such as New Zealand and Ireland, benefited significantly, with economic contributions of $912 million and $832 million, respectively.
  • Emerging markets: Smaller countries have seen exponential growth driven by Airbnb stays. From 2016 to 2018, Moldova witnessed a 190% increase in guest arrivals, followed closely by Vanuatu with a 187% increase and New Caledonia at 175%.

Localized economic stimulation

  • Beyond major tourist spots: One of Airbnb’s most profound impacts is the diversion of tourist traffic from major hotel districts to local neighborhoods. This allows guests a more authentic experience while simultaneously opening up new avenues of revenue for local businesses previously untouched by the tourism industry.
  • Supporting local artisans and experiences: With the launch of Airbnb “Experiences”, local artisans, guides, and experts have found a platform to share their knowledge, crafts, and skills, further driving localized economic growth.

Airbnb’s economic ripple effects are vast and varied. Whether it’s a cafe in a tucked-away alley in Paris, a craft workshop in Bali, or a local guide in Kenya, Airbnb has tangibly uplifted and enriched communities, redefining the economic landscape of tourism.

Controversies and regulatory hurdles: the flip side of Airbnb’s growth

While Airbnb’s meteoric rise has been commendable, it hasn’t come without its fair share of controversies and challenges. The platform’s disruption of the traditional hospitality sector has led to debates about its effects on housing markets, local communities, and regulatory frameworks. This section delves into the areas where Airbnb has faced scrutiny and the policies enacted by cities around the world.

Impact on local housing markets

  • Rising rental prices: In popular tourist destinations, there have been concerns about Airbnb leading to increased rental prices. As property owners realize they can make more from short-term rentals than long-term tenants, some cities have seen a surge in property prices and rents.
  • Decreased housing availability: In cities with already constrained housing markets, there’s a concern that converting residential units to short-term rentals could decrease available housing for residents, exacerbating local housing crises.

Regulatory challenges and city policies

Recognizing these concerns, several cities have implemented laws to limit or ban short-term rentals. San Francisco, the birthplace of Airbnb, has regulations in place, as does New York City, where rentals for less than 30 days in Class A dwellings are illegal. Despite these rules, New York remains one of the cities with the highest number of Airbnb listings.

The challenge for many cities is finding a balance. They must protect the interests of long-term residents and the housing market while also accommodating the growing demand for short-term rentals and recognizing the economic benefits they bring.

Tourist influx and local communities

With an influx of tourists in residential areas, some locals have expressed concerns about changing neighborhood dynamics, noise, and disturbances.

While local businesses often benefit from increased footfall, residents sometimes feel the peace and character of their communities are disrupted by transient populations.

Airbnb’s response

Recognizing these challenges, Airbnb has begun to actively engage with cities around the world to develop mutually beneficial frameworks. This involves sharing data, collaborating on regulations, and ensuring that the platform’s growth aligns with the cities’ best interests.

Adapting to global challenges: Airbnb in the time of COVID-19

The global pandemic of 2020 has presented unparalleled challenges for the entire travel industry, and Airbnb was no exception. With lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed worldwide, the platform faced significant disruptions. However, Airbnb’s response to these challenges and the trends that emerged offer insights into the platform’s resilience and the adaptability of its community.

Immediate fallout

  • Revenue decline: Airbnb experienced a sharp 30% decline in its year-over-year revenue due to COVID-19, generating $3.4 billion in 2020. This dramatic drop underscored the vulnerability of the travel industry in the face of global crises.
  • Host earnings: Despite these challenges, Airbnb hosts collectively managed to earn $1 billion during the pandemic, demonstrating the platform’s robustness and the tenacity of its hosts.

Changing travel preferences

  • Rise in nearby stays: With international travel largely off the table, users turned to local adventures. Nearby stays within a 300-mile radius, became the most sought-after bookings in 2020. This trend showcases travelers’ undying urge to explore, even if it’s closer to home.
  • Alternative stays take center stage: Unique accommodations like cabins, tiny homes, and secluded retreats gained immense popularity as travelers sought safer, isolated, and distinctive experiences. This shift underscores the demand for novel travel experiences beyond the conventional.

Adapting and pivoting

  • Safety protocols: Airbnb swiftly rolled out enhanced cleaning protocols and guidelines for hosts to ensure guest safety and boost traveler confidence.
  • Flexible booking: Recognizing the unpredictability of the situation, Airbnb introduced more flexible booking and cancellation policies to cater to changing travel plans.

2021 and beyond

After the COVID pandemic slowed down and people began traveling again, things looked better for Airbnb and its hosts.

  • Resilient travel demand: In 2021, data began reflecting a resurgence in the desire to travel. Popular U.S. destinations for spring and summer 2021 included places like Southern Maine, Cape May, NJ, and Lake Powell, AZ, highlighting a continued preference for scenic, open spaces.
  • Longer stays: With remote work becoming the new norm for many, extended stays have surged in popularity as travelers combine work and leisure, choosing to work from picturesque locations.

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic tested Airbnb’s mettle. Yet, through adaptability, quick responses, and understanding evolving traveler needs, Airbnb not only weathered the storm but also laid down foundations for future growth in a post-pandemic world.

Becoming an Airbnb host

With a community that boasts over 4 million individuals globally, becoming an Airbnb host offers an opportunity to not just earn a supplementary income but also to connect with a diverse range of people from around the world. 

An overview of the hosting landscape

Since its inception, Airbnb has grown exponentially to accommodate over 4 million hosts. These hosts are the bedrock of Airbnb’s success, offering a plethora of unique accommodations, from city apartments to countryside cabins.

While earnings can vary based on location, type of property, and level of dedication, on average, an Airbnb host can expect to earn around $9,600 annually.

Key statistics

  • Cumulative earnings: From October 2021 to September 2022, the global community of Airbnb Superhosts earned a total of $23 billion, underscoring the platform’s potential for generating substantial income.
  • Understanding service fees: While the majority of hosts incur a standard 3% service fee, there are exceptions. Airbnb Plus hosts listings in specific locations, and hosts with certain cancellation policies might face slightly higher fees.
  • Elite Superhosts: Superhosts are the cream of the Airbnb community, consistently garnering top reviews and providing exceptional experiences to their guests. As of December 2019, the U.S. alone boasted approximately 399,000 superhosts.

Handy tips for aspiring hosts

  • Prioritize insurance: If you’re opening up your home or property to strangers, ensuring you’re protected should be a top priority. It’s vital to have comprehensive coverage and sometimes even temporary insurance that covers potential risks, be it vandalism, theft, or property damage.
  • Craft a standout listing: In a marketplace flooded with options, differentiation is key. High-quality photos, detailed descriptions, transparency about amenities and house rules, and responsiveness to inquiries can help a listing stand out. Moreover, keeping up with guest reviews and feedback can provide valuable insights into areas of improvement.

How to list on Airbnb: a step-by-step guide

1. Create an Airbnb account

If you don’t already have an account, visit the Airbnb website or download the mobile app.

Sign up using your email address, Facebook account, or Google account.

2. Begin your listing

Click on the “Become a Host” option on the Airbnb homepage. You’ll be asked what kind of place you’re listing. Options include a shared space, a private room, or an entire place.

3. Describe your space

When creating your listing’s description, be sure to list all of these things:

  • Type of property: Indicate if it’s a house, apartment, cabin, or other type of accommodation.
  • Accommodation capacity: Specify the number of guests your space can accommodate.
  • Bedrooms & beds: Indicate the number of bedrooms and beds available.
  • Amenities: Mark all amenities you offer, like Wi-Fi, TV, kitchen, or free parking.
  • Description: Write a detailed, inviting description of your space. Highlight unique features and nearby attractions.

4. Add high-quality photos

Upload clear, well-lit photos of your property. Ensure you capture key spaces such as bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and any special amenities.

You should consider using a professional photographer for the best results. Airbnb often offers professional photography services in certain cities.

5. Set your price

Research similar listings in your area for guidance in determining your nightly rate. Airbnb also offers a “Smart Pricing” tool, which adjusts your price based on demand and local events.

6. Establish house rules & expectations

It’s important to establish rules for your guests to follow during their stay. Some things to consider include:

  • Specify rules about smoking, pets, parties, and guest behavior
  • Detail check-in and check-out times
  • Details about where and how to pick up and return the keys
  • Cleaning expectations for guests
  • Any off-limit areas of the home

7. Availability settings

Decide on the minimum and maximum lengths of stays you’d like to accommodate and set up your booking calendar with available dates.

8. Set up your payment details

Airbnb will prompt you to input your payment information. You can choose to receive payouts via several methods, including direct deposit, PayPal, or other options depending on your country.

9. Review and publish

Before publishing, thoroughly review your listing to ensure all details are accurate and appealing. Once you’re satisfied, click “List Your Space.”

10. Await verification

Airbnb may require you to verify your identity by uploading a government ID or taking a photo of yourself. Some regions may require additional verification or information due to local regulations.

11. Continuously update & engage

It’s important to keep your calendar and listing details updated to reflect any changes. You should also engage promptly with potential guests who inquire about your space. A swift and courteous response can enhance your chances of securing bookings.


What is Airbnb?

Airbnb, founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, is a global platform connecting individuals with unique accommodations and experiences. 

Originating from the concept of renting an “Air Bed & Breakfast” in their San Francisco apartment, it has since transformed the travel industry, allowing homeowners to earn from their properties and travelers to immerse in local cultures.

What does Airbnb stand for?

Airbnb stands for “Air Bed & Breakfast,” originating from the company’s early concept, where the founders rented out an air mattress in their San Francisco apartment to travelers, offering both a place to sleep and breakfast. Over time, the platform evolved to encompass a broader range of accommodations and experiences worldwide but retained the shortened name “Airbnb.”

What is Airbnb Plus?

Airbnb Plus is a selection of high-quality homes with hosts known for great reviews and attention to detail. Each Airbnb Plus property is personally verified for cleanliness, comfort, and design, ensuring a consistent standard of excellence and amenities, making guests’ stays more comfortable and memorable.

Find insurance for your Airbnb property

Before you list a home on Airbnb, you need to make sure it’s properly insured. Use our online quote tool to get multiple quotes in minutes.

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