Airbnb Grows Houston’s Vacation Options

Vacationing in Houston is changing, for both residents and our out-of-town guests, with more and more households jumping on the Airbnb platform. “On any given night we have one million people staying at Airbnb listings around the world. In Houston there were 93,000 inbound guest arrivals in 2016, which is 141% growth over the year before,” says Laura Spanjian, Public Policy Director for Airbnb.

That’s money in the pockets of Houston households that wasn’t there before. “More and more Houstonians are turning to home-sharing to make a little extra money to make ends meet,” Spanjian says, citing 4,000 Houston-area homes that were made available to guests last year, a 277% increase over the previous year. She adds that hosting the Super Bowl (in 2017) may have played a role in some of that.

Homebuilders are even picking up on the trend, offers Christine Gerbode, editor of Houston’s real estate site “There are a couple listings that are being specifically sold as convertible for Airbnb purposes,” she says. Some offer sets of smaller, self-contained units, or a room over the garage, or a guest house in the back.

Whether you’re traveling, have space you want to turn into income, or see property management in your future, Airbnb is part of the equation.

Spanjian doesn’t expect home-sharing to dramatically alter the hospitality trade in Houston, which is world-class in its own right, but will enhance it. ”Hospitality is a large, growing market, particularly in Houston, and we strongly believe that helping people to travel is good news for everybody.”

Bloomberg News reported earlier this week that Airbnb will be moving into more upscale offerings later this year.

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