In late 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were two roommates in San Francisco struggling to make rent. Fast forward ten years and the two are known internationally for co-founding Airbnb, an online community marketplace that allows millions of unique accommodations around the world.
In recent years, Airbnb has made its way to the Chattanooga area. To date, there are over three hundred houses, apartments, condos, and treehouses available to guests in the Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain, Cleveland and Ooltewah areas.
Recently, Airbnb announced that Chattanooga-area hosts brought in a combined $6 million in supplemental income in 2017, nearly three times more than the previous year, with 88% of that income coming directly from the downtown Chattanooga area. Sixty-two thousand people lodged in local Airbnbs in the past year, up from 24,600 guests in 2016.
According to a recent Airbnb news release, Chattanooga ia the fourth most popular home-sharing market in the state, behind Nashville, Memphis and Sevierville. The release also stated that, “Nearly all of the cities in the Chattanooga region achieved over 100% year-over-year growth in guest arrivals.”
Many worried that Airbnb would rival the local hotel industry. However, the opposite has occurred with Airbnbs complementing hotels around the area. Airbnb Officials say, “This suggests that Airbnb is opening up the region 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.”