LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Airbnb, the world’s leading community driven hospitality company, announced Tuesday that its Jefferson County / Louisville Metro host community earned a combined $15.2 million in supplemental income while welcoming approximately 124,000 guest arrivals to the region in 2018.
This comes as locals increasingly embrace the home sharing platform as an opportunity to earn supplemental income and make ends meet. The typical Louisville Metro host earns about $4,300 annually in supplemental income.
Yet, local data indicates that Airbnb and its host community appear to be complementing — rather than competing with — the Louisville hotel industry. The Louisville Metro area is in the midst of a historic hotel boom — in parallel with home sharing activity. This suggests that Airbnb is opening up the region to a new slice of prospective tourists by catering to travelers less able to afford hotels, families who prefer to be together under one roof, and those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels.
“As destinations around the country work to keep up with the growing shared economy options for travelers, Louisville Tourism is proud to be among those embracing its short-term rental community,” said Karen Williams, president and CEO of Louisville Tourism. “Now, like with traditional lodging, the transient room tax collected is being invested in marketing Louisville to attract even more visitors. Having partners like Airbnb helps our agency leverage its properties as assets in our city’s marketing toolkit.”
The local home sharing community adds significant value for Louisville Metro via expanded lodging capacity during big weekends that cause hotels to reach peak occupancy, in particular the Kentucky Derby.
In addition to the new income going into the pockets of local homeowners, Louisville Metro is generating new revenue through a tax agreement that authorizes Airbnb to collect and remit the 8.5 percent room tax on behalf of hosts, which took effect last April. Airbnb announced last week that this agreement allowed the company to deliver nearly $1 million in revenue to the county in 2018.
Airbnb also maintains a tax agreement with the Kentucky Department of Revenue that authorizes the company to collect and remit the state sales tax on all bookings throughout the commonwealth.