This summer has been quite a busy one for Airbnb hosts and guests in Washington. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 175,700 Airbnb users booked stays in D.C. using the platform, according to the San Francisco-based company. It represented the greatest number of guest arrivals, or unique bookings, Airbnb has ever seen in D.C. in the roughly three-month period.
The activity produced $37.7 million in income for local hosts, the company says. Most of the bookers were actually from within D.C. themselves, followed by New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Airbnb notes “this demonstrates the popularity of Airbnb among Washington, D.C. residents looking to explore other parts of their own City,” but it’s possible that many of these bookings were reserved by residents on behalf of their family and friends.
As of July, more than 601,000 D.C. residents had used Airbnb to travel over the past year, the company points out in a release. The numbers come more than half a year after District lawmakers unanimously approved restrictions on short-term rentals, including prohibiting second homes from being rented out on a short-term basis and capping the total number of days a host may rent out their primary residence while the host is not on site to 90 per year. Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to sign the legislation, saying the restrictions were too strict.
“As we mark yet another historic summer -- and look ahead to the continuing fight for clarity and a fair regulatory framework for our community -- we hope that we can find ways to work with City government to ensure short-term rentals can continue to play a strong role in every corner of the Washington, D.C. economy,” says Kelley Gossett, Airbnb’s Mid-Atlantic public policy chief, in a statement. A D.C. Zoning Commission hearing about the short-term rental regulations, which are set to go into effect October 1, is scheduled for October 17. The city’s Office of Planning recently released a report on the regulations and associated zoning rules.
D.C. welcomed a record 23.8 million visitors in 2018, city tourism officials announced last month. Of those visitors, 21.9 million were from the U.S., a 5.2 percent increase over 2017.