Airbnb Hosted Nearly 17 Million Guests This Summer

Growth is up and to the right for Airbnb. Nearly 17 million people worldwide booked their guest stays with the peer-to-peer lodging platform this summer, according to a new travel report.

That’s a whopping 353x’s surge in the last five years – and a far cry from the three guests Airbnb hosted before officially launching in the summer of 2008. Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were just trying to figure out a way to pay rent at the time and made a website that advertised $80 to rent an air mattress on the floor of their apartment for a night plus breakfast in the morning. Three people, two guys and a girl, decided to try it out and Airbnb was born.

Fast forward two years later to what must have seemed like a lot of bookings at the time – just over 47,000 people used the site to find a place to stay in the summer of 2010.

Airbnb now says more than 50 million people around the world have followed in those three guest’s initial footsteps – 30 million people booked stays on Airbnb just this year, more than a third (17 million) booked through the site this summer.

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Guests came from more than 57,000 cities and 150 different countries to spend the night in interesting accommodations for the season – including tree houses, yurts, castles and a private island in Nicaragua. More than half of the guests this last year were women (54% female, 46% male), and the average traveler’s age was 35 years old, according to the report.

The majority of summer travelers stayed within their own continent, though. Three of the most popular routes to book were from Paris to Lisbon, New York to the Catskills and Hudson Valley and Seoul to Osaka.

Airbnb also claims to be helping the middle-class family supplement their income through the site. An earlier study conducted by former White House national economic advisor Gene Sperling found that the majority of hosts are working-class families who rent out their primary residence for about 66 days a year. According to that study, the average host also earned approximately $7,350, or a 14 percent raise in annual income from temporarily renting out their extra space.

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Airbnb’s had one helluva summer with an immense amount of growth, charting a healthy-looking hockey stick VC’s love to see. 

Chesky would like to push that chart even higher. The co-founder revealed his plan earlier this spring for the platform to facilitate over one million stays per night. The company raised a hefty $1.5 billion in June to help it do that.

17 million bookings over a summer isn’t quite a million a night, but the platform some VC’s didn’t think would amount to much might be on its way.