New Study: Airbnb Community Contributes $175 Million to Barcelona’s Economy

Hosts use money they earn to pay bills, Guests spend more time and money in Barcelona’s diverse neighborhoods

Airbnb, the world's leading marketplace for booking, discovering, and listing unique spaces around the world, today highlighted a study that details Airbnb's positive economic impact in Barcelona. Conducted in partnership with economists Dwif Consulting and supported by IESE and ESADE-Creafutur Business School, the study found that Airbnb generated $175 million in economic activity in one year in Barcelona and supported 4,310 jobs.

“Airbnb helps Barcelona families earn extra money to stay afloat during these difficult times by opening their homes to visitors,” said General Manager for Airbnb Spain and Portugal Jeroen Merchiers. “In one year alone, thousands of local hosts helped travelers from around the world experience Barcelona more authentically and sustainably throughout the city’s diverse neighborhoods.”

Airbnb is an important source of income for local residents who use the platform to share their home: 75 percent of all Airbnb hosts in Barcelona earn at or below Catalonia’s average household income. The study found that the majority of Airbnb hosts in Barcelona use the money they earn to help pay their bills and stay in their homes.

Airbnb hosts & guests strengthen tourism in Barcelona

The study also indicates that the overwhelming majority of Airbnb guests in Barcelona are highly educated and are looking for an opportunity to “live like a local.” Airbnb guests are a diverse group with an average age of 36 years old. They spend 2.3 times more money and stay 2.4 times longer than typical Barcelona visitors. 80 percent of guests use Airbnb because they want to explore a specific neighborhood, and 45 percent of their spending occurs in the neighborhood where they stay.

“Airbnb guests stay longer and spend more in the diverse neighborhoods throughout the city,” said Dwif Consulting economist Alexander Neumann. “There’s no question that Airbnb significantly supports neighborhood businesses and makes the city stronger.”

Airbnb generated an impressive $175 million for the city by supporting families, local stores, restaurants as well as other services," said Guillermo Ricarte, General Manager at ESADE-Creafutur. “It’s worth pointing out that these hosts are a perfect sample of Barcelona’s local population: engineers and artists, entrepreneurs and freelancers, unemployed… all of them may take advantage of it every day”.

Looking forward, Mario Capizzani, professor at IESE Business School comments, “I believe that the peer-to-peer economy in Catalonia will continue to develop going forward. Irrespective of whether we are speaking of shared cars, underutilized parking spaces, or services offered by skilled independent workers, the sharing economy is here to stay. In particular, its impact on the tourism industry is an irreversible force”.

Highlights from the study include:

●      Airbnb is an important source of income for many low-income local residents. 75 percent of Airbnb hosts earn at or below Catalonia’s average household income.

●      Hosts spend 60 percent of their Airbnb income on important household expenses. 53 percent of Airbnb hosts say their Airbnb income has helped them stay in their homes.

●      Airbnb attracts new visitors to Barcelona. 61 percent of Airbnb guests were visiting Barcelona for the first time.

●      Airbnb guests stay 2.4 times longer and spend 2.3 times more money compared to typical tourists. They also stay in more diverse neighborhoods throughout the city, and 45 percent of their spending occurs in the neighborhood where they stay.

●      Airbnb attracts a diverse group of visitors with an average age of 36 years old

●      Guests are looking for authentic, cultural, and sustainable experiences: 96 percent want to “live like a local”, 80 percent use Airbnb to explore a specific neighborhood, and 76 percent are interested in cultural tourism.

The study highlighted today examined data on Airbnb rental activity in Barcelona for the 12 months from August 2012 - July 2013.

About Airbnb: Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 35,000 cities and 192 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.