While I've never had occasion to use Airbnb, I'm aware of their existence because several friends have rented a vacation spot from them (with mixed results). What I didn't know is that not only is Airbnb here in Rockford--over 2,000 people made use of it.

I'm looking over some of the particulars that I received in an email from Ben Breit, Airbnb-Midwest, and the numbers say it all:

Airbnb, the world’s leading community driven hospitality company, announced today that its Rockford host community earned a combined $300,000 in supplemental income while welcoming approximately 2,200 guest arrivals to the city in 2017.

With about 30 residents now sharing their homes via Airbnb, Rockford is now the #10 home sharing market in all of Illinois. About half of those hosts simply share an extra, unused room in their homes (i.e. empty nester), and the typical Rockford host earns about $6,000 annually in supplemental income through the Airbnb platform. The 2,200 guest arrivals represent 92% year-over-year growth.

In September 2017, Airbnb announced a tax agreement with Rockford. The collaboration allows the platform to collect and remit the 5% Rockford Hotel/Motel Tourism Tax on behalf of its hosts, therefore generating new revenue for the city.

For those wondering if Airbnb is taking dollars away from the hotel/motel industry, the answer, according to Ben Breit at Airbnb, is no:

Statewide data indicates that Airbnb and its host community appear to be complementing -- rather than competing with -- the Illinois hotel industry. The latest report from the Illinois Office of Tourism shows 4% increase in hotel revenue, while a late 2017 report from Marcus & Millichap concludes that Illinois hotels are demonstrating strong growth in overall occupancy. This suggests that Airbnb is opening up the state to a new slice of prospective tourists by catering to travelers less able to afford hotels, those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels, and families who prefer to be together under one roof.

Before you jump up to get your spare bedroom ready for vacationers, though...

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