The homesharing platform “Air B-n-B” is reporting outstanding growth in Iowa during 2017.
Ben Breit spokesman for the hospitality company’s Midwest division, says the popularity of the program is bounding week after week, month after month. “Iowa hosts and homeowners earned a combined $5.8-million, with Des Moines leading the way, but with a lot of other strong results in other cities, particularly Iowa City,” Breit says, “and they welcomed 60,000 guests.”
Both figures are a big jump from just a year ago, as more people become aware of the service and sign on. “This more than doubled the results from 2016,” Breit says, “so we really are seeing tremendous growth in the state of Iowa.” There are now just under 1,100 Iowa hosts who share their homes via Air B-n-B. Breit says they typically earn about $3,600 a year in supplemental income from home sharing. Users of Air B-n-B usually like to get off the beaten path and don’t want to be confined just to big cities and hotel districts.
“They want to be able to experience new neighborhoods that maybe don’t have hotels, or they want to get out to more rural areas of the state where entire counties sometimes don’t have hotels,” Breit says. “They’re looking for new experiences, authentic experiences and that’s what this platform provides.” Des Moines was the top Air B-n-B city in Iowa with more than 11-thousand guests during the year, while hosts earned one-point-one million dollars. Iowa City was the number-two city, followed by Decorah, Dubuque and Ames. The fastest-growing demographic for hosts in the Midwest is older people.
“Commonly empty nesters, their kids have grown up and left the home, now they have an extra empty room or two or three just sitting there,” Breit says. “Five years ago, they would’ve been collecting dust. Now, a lot of these seniors are realizing they have an economic opportunity on their hands.” Hosts keep 97% of the room rates with 3% going to Airbnb for facilitating the transaction.
In addition to the new income going into the pockets of hosts, the state of Iowa is generating new revenue through a tax agreement announced in October. It allows Airbnb to collect and submit taxes on behalf of its hosts for all Iowa bookings. This deal covers state sales taxes as well as local, county and municipal hotel taxes.