A Look into Airbnb

Mar 4, 2016

Credit Andym5855 / Flickr

You may have heard that growing numbers of kama‘āina are renting out rooms on Airbnb, but how many are doing so? And why? Pacific Business News Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier has more.

PBN got an exclusive first look at data researched by Airbnb from surveys of its Hawaii members. Airbnb is essentially an online marketplace for people who want to rent out some or all of a home they own to a traveler. The traveler, in turn, is looking for a deal, or more of a residential experience than they would find by booking a traditional hotel room.

In 2015, about 8,700 Airbnb listings were booked in Hawaii. According to Airbnb’s surveys of its Hawaii members, 60 percent of these bookings were in primary residences. For these members, renting out a room was something they did occasionally, to supplement their income. How much income are we talking about? The median income earned through listings of entire homes in 2015 in Hawaii was just under $6,000.

Not a fortune, but that money is often sorely needed. Airbnb’s survey found that 19 percent of respondents were using their Airbnb income to avoid foreclosure. Another 60 to 65 percent said that renting out space in their homes helped them afford to stay in those homes.