The debate over Airbnb continues in the Chicago City Council chambers, and the latest discussion is over some new figures released by the internet-based short term apartment rental service. According to the numbers, Airbnb says that the typical host in Chicago rented their apartment out for 38 nights last year. The report, called "Creating Economic Opportunity in the Midwest," also indicates that Airbnb’s footprint is growing in other midwestern cities like Milwaukee, Louisville and Cleveland. And perhaps not surprisingly, Chicago is the city with most hosts (5,000) and most visits booked (315,400). According to the report, the typical Airbnb host in Chicago pulled in $4,300 from renting out their home, condo, or apartment.
However, the new figures produced by Airbnb are being debated by some city council members. Alderman Brendan Reilly (42), who along with Alderman Michele Smith (43) has been leading the battle against Airbnb, tells Crain’s that Airbnb is projecting a disingenuous image. Airbnb’s narrative in Chicago is that its service allows ordinary Chicagoans to earn some extra cash to pay bills. They recently ran a full television ad campaign that attempted to share that message, and in their latest report they say that Airbnb makes "it possible for regular people to pay their bills, stay in their homes and make ends meet." Alderman Reilly tells Greg Hinz of Crain’s, "So much for Airbnb's laughably false 'it's all about the occasional nightly rental in my second bedroom to help pay rent' narrative." He adds that Airbnb views Chicago as a lucrative market and has been doing well despite new ordinances that try and regulate the various companies that are driving the new sharing economy.
- Airbnb says typical Chicago host rented home 38 nights last year [Crain’s]
- Airbnb report [Daily Detroit]