Key Takeaways

– Short-term rental visitors spent an estimated $1 billion across Summit, Grand, Eagle, Pitkin and Routt Counties in 2020.

– This spending supported 14,700 jobs – representing 15 percent of all jobs across these five counties in 2020 –  generated nearly $600 million in worker earnings.


Airbnb is today releasing a new report – Colorado Short Term Rental Impact Study: Findings and Recommendation – by HR&A. This report was commissioned by Airbnb to understand the economic benefits of short-term rentals in five counties across Colorado – Summit, Grand, Eagle, Pitkin and Routt Counties – as well as any potential impact of short-term rentals on the availability of workforce housing in the region. 

The HR&A report concludes that short-term rentals create clear financial opportunities for Colorado mountain towns as well as statewide, with minimal effect on local housing supply. In fact, the report finds that — across the five counties — both the total number of vacant units and the share of seasonal, recreational or occasional use units have been stable, suggesting that occupied homes are not being converted to short-term rentals at high rates.

’’Every day, Airbnb Hosts across Colorado not only welcome visitors to their communities, but also encourage them to spend their dollars locally, in restaurants, shops and attractions. As this report shows, Hosts are playing a crucial role in both the statewide and local economies, from bringing in millions of dollars in tax revenue to supporting tens of thousands of jobs. Airbnb looks forward to continuing to work with elected officials across Colorado to empower residents to both supplement their income by sharing their homes and drive this valuable economic impact.”

—Ayisha Irfan, Airbnb public policy manager

On the economic impact of short-term rentals, key findings include: 

  • Short-term rental visitors spent an estimated $1 billion in the five counties in 2020. Approximately 60 percent of this spending was spent on something other than lodging, including food, arts, entertainment, recreation and retail.
  • Short-term rental visitor spending supported 14,700 jobs, representing 15 percent of all jobs in five counties in 2020. This spending generated $599 million in worker earnings across the five counties in 2020 – 12 percent of overall worker earnings in the region.
  • In total, short-term rental visitor spending also generated $1.5 billion in economic output in 2020.
  • In 2020, short-term rental visitor spending produced $73.9 million in tax revenue for the State of Colorado and its local municipalities. 
  • Of the approximately 5.2 million tourists to the five counties in 2020, short-term rental visitors comprised about 30 percent of all visitors, with over half of them staying in Summit County.

On the impact of short-term rentals on the local housing market in the five counties, key findings include:

  • Across the five counties, both the total number of vacant units and the share of seasonal, recreational or occasional use units have been stable, suggesting that occupied homes are not being converted to short-term rentals at high rates.
  • While listings vary monthly, there were approximately 49,200 total short-term rental units available through different platforms across the five counties as of 2021. This is approximately equal to the number of seasonal, recreational or occasional use units, indicating that the existing short-term rental inventory has historically been used as tourism-related lodging or was occupied part-time.
  • At the same time, the inventory of housing in the five counties has grown by about 8,600 from 2010 to 2019 – or about 8 percent – compared to 17 percent in overall job growth.
  • In addition, the inventory of renter-occupied housing units, serving low- and moderate-wage workers, has stayed relatively stagnant while those jobs have grown, forcing workers to compete for limited rental supply.

As the travel revolution continues to unfold, Airbnb is helping to keep the economic impact of tourism in the communities where it happens. Hosts keep up to 97 percent of what they charge, and the typical US Host earned more than $13,800 in 2021 – equivalent to over two months of pay for the median US household. To date, Hosts around the world have earned a total of $150 billion welcoming guests through our platform – and new Hosts in Colorado alone earned approximately $60 million in 2021. Women Hosts in the US, who make up 60 percent of Airbnb’s US Host community, earned more than $12 billion in 2021.

Along with the significant tax revenue generated in Colorado alone, Airbnb has collected and remitted more than $4 billion in tourism taxes around the world, including more than $1.5 billion in US communities in 2021.

Airbnb promotes the kind of tourism that supports Hosts, guests, and local communities. As cities and towns continue to plan for their recovery from the pandemic, this report shows that short-term rentals in Colorado can be an important tool for economic revitalization – with tax revenue even serving as resource to help invest in local housing supply – and Airbnb stands ready to work with policymakers and stakeholders to make that a reality.

About HR&A

HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A) is an employee-owned company advising public, private, non-profit, and philanthropic clients on how to increase opportunity and advance quality of life in cities of all scales. We believe in creating vital places, building more equitable and resilient communities, and improving people’s lives. We help clients turn vision into action by analyzing, strategizing, and implementing solutions to address complex challenges across a broad range of places and issues, including how to enable, deliver and benefit from urban tech and innovation.

About Airbnb

Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 1 billion guest arrivals across over 220 countries and regions. Travel on Airbnb keeps more of the financial benefits of tourism with the people and places that make it happen. Airbnb has generated billions of dollars in earnings for Hosts, most of whom are individuals listing the homes in which they live. Among Hosts who report their gender, more than half are women, and one in five employed Hosts are either teachers or healthcare workers. Travel on Airbnb also has generated more than $4 billion in tax revenue around the world. Airbnb has helped advance more than 1,000 regulatory frameworks for short-term rentals, including in 80% of our top 200 geographies. In late 2020, to support our continued expansion and diversification, we launched the City Portal to provide governments with a one-stop shop that supports data sharing and compliance with local registration rules. We continue to invest in innovations and tools to support our ongoing work with governments around the world to advance travel that best serves communities.