Area residents raise $3.1 million this summer from Airbnb rentals | Northwest Indiana Commercial Securities

Residents of northwest Indiana raised $3.1 million this summer by renting out their homes or rooms through Airbnb.

Visitors rented 164,700 rooms in Indiana from Memorial Day to Labor Day, according to the San Francisco-based hospitality industry disruptor that provides an online marketplace for lodging. Hoosier’s top five state destinations were Indianapolis, South Bend, Bloomington, Michigan City, and the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.

Travelers have rented more than 11,160 nights in LaPorte County, where Lake Michigan beach rentals are especially popular in lakeside communities like Michigan City, Long Beach and Michiana Shores. Airbnb users in LaPorte County reported $2.1 million in revenue, ranking it third in Indiana behind Marion and St. Joseph counties.

Lake was the seventh most visited among Indiana’s 92 counties this summer, according to Airbnb. Travelers spent 4,772 nights in Lake County, generating $600,000 in revenue for residents.

Porter County ranked 10th with 3,821 nights and $466,000 in revenue.

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Statewide, most Airbnb customers in Indiana came from Chicago, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Cincinnati and Louisville. More than 80,000 Hoosiers have booked rooms through Airbnb for travel in the past year.

“The summer of 2019 saw more Airbnb guest arrivals in Indiana than ever before,” said Kelley Gossett, Airbnb’s director of policy for Indiana. “Airbnb has helped expand tourism in the state, benefiting local hosts and businesses, and the state with additional tax revenue. We look forward to continuing to work with all levels of Indiana government to ensure that short-term rentals can continue to play an important role in the overall economy of the state.

Airbnb is not without local critics, including the president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, Speros Batistatos, who accused Airbnb operators of not bearing as many tax burdens as hotels, of not not be so regulated for guest safety, and that rentals in neighborhoods zoned for residential use are unfair to neighbors seeking peace and quiet.

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