An Update About Our Community in San Francisco

In 2017, Airbnb reached an agreement with the City of San Francisco to protect and legalize home sharing citywide for anyone renting their own home, and to ensure the City’s short-term rental laws are enforceable.

We are appreciative of the City of San Francisco’s hard work to implement the registration system and their continued partnership over the last year to operationalize a regulatory framework the city designed to address its specific policy needs.

As part of the agreement, we launched an online registration system through the Airbnb platform to make it easier for our host community to comply with the City’s short-term rental rules. After months of collaboration with the Office of Short Term rentals and several informational meetings for our host community, this system was fully implemented in January 2018. The pass-through registration system we developed in San Francisco is similar to systems we’ve implemented in other major cities, including Chicago.

Airbnb is a community-based platform that supports magical travel that is local, authentic and unique. Airbnb has more than 5 million listings and operates in 191 countries and more than 81,000 cities. To date, the Airbnb community has hosted nearly half-a-billion guests through a model designed to support healthy travel. In the United States, the typical Airbnb hosts — who earns 97 percent of what they list their homes for — is using the platform to earn important supplemental income to address basic needs. In most major cities, 75 percent of Airbnb listings are located in non-traditional tourism districts, thus spreading the economic benefits throughout communities that have not historically benefited from tourism. And 44 percent of what guests spend stays in the neighborhood where they stayed. From September 2016 through September 2017, Airbnb guests spent $6.5 billion at restaurants in 44 cities around the world.

In January 2018, immediately after implementing the new rules,we shared updated numbers from our community, including:

  • As part of the implementation process, we removed 4,780 listings, nearly 70 percent of which had not been booked in the six months prior to PTR implementation in January 2018.
  • After removing these listings, there were 6,300 active listings on our platform, including more than 2,600 long term and hotel listings (30+ day rentals, traditional B&B’s, and boutique hotels).

Today, just one year following the implementation of this agreement, we wanted to share an update about our community in San Francisco:

  • After implementation of one of the most restrictive laws in the country, the number of Airbnb listings in San Francisco increased by 22 percent. Today there are more than 7,800 listings in San Francisco, including more than 3,700 long term and hotel listings (30+ day rentals, traditional B&B’s, and boutique hotels) and all short term rental listings have registered.
  • Overall, total booking value in San Francisco was unchanged in 2018 vs. 2017, driven by a 42 percent increase in the number of nights hosted per listing. These metrics reflect the continued strong demand from guests and the ability for our hosts to increase hosting frequency to meet the demand.
  • We continue to see incredible growth around the Bay Area — even while tourism is essentially flat in the region — with 44 percent growth year-over-year in guest arrivals in the five counties surrounding San Francisco. In other words, 44 percent more people traveled to the five counties around San Francisco in 2018, a testament to the Airbnb community continuing to deliver magical travel that is local, authentic and unique. And this growth took place in the context of tourism into the area being generally static.
  • Interest in hosting is strong: In 2018 we piloted a “host pop-up” in our SF office where potential hosts could come in and learn about hosting. We planned to send an invite out to 5000 hosts locally, but the slots were all filled out within two hours of emailing the first 500 people.

The establishment of clear, fair and workable home sharing rules has created certainty and clarity for our host community, allowing them to legally share their homes. And the stability we establish by partnering with cities to create home sharing rules is a critical foundation for long-term, sustainable growth — in San Francisco, across the Bay Area, and around the world.

To date, Airbnb has worked to support more than 500-plus regulatory partnerships globally. These partnerships range from collecting and remitting hotel and tourist taxes to Memorandums of Understanding sharing various forms of data, and/or comprehensive regulations that recognize and regulate home sharing for the first time. One clear lesson from our work around the globe is that every city is unique and has different regulatory needs. That said, the tools we developed in cities like San Francisco document there are ways to implement fair and progressive laws that work for cities and citizens who rely on home sharing to pay the bills.

While San Francisco’s home sharing rules were designed to meet the unique needs of our hometown, we remain committed as a company to working with governments in every corner of the globe to ensure regular people can continue to turn their greatest expense – their housing – into an economic opportunity.