Airbnb in Indiana
Airbnb hosts in Indiana earned $20.7 million in 2017. Following are figures for the state's top 20 cities.
City Total 2017 Total 2017
guest arrivals host income
Indianapolis 73,000 $8.42 million
South Bend 20,000 $2.89 million
Bloomington 16,800 $1.87 million
Michigan City 5,700 $867,300
Fort Wayne 4,250 $437,900
West Lafayette 3,050 $311,350
Lafayette 3,050 $383,500
Nashville 1,950 $207,700
Fishers 1,800 $200,600
Evansville 1,670 $163,700
Carmel 1,570 $270,000
LaPorte 1,490 $184,500
Noblesville 1,390 $178,300
Valparaiso 1,310 $143,650
New Albany 1,300 $156,100
Gary 1,300 $195,650
Granger 1,250 $159,700
Westfield 1,180 $146,600
Greenwood 1,080 $90400
Mishawaka 980 $121,100
Kathy Leigh-Manuell struggled with what to do with a vacant apartment on her property in northeast Fort Wayne.
Two years later, she has turned the remodeled living space into reliable retirement income.
“We thought about selling the house. I had never heard of Airbnb,” she said. “My kids, they said, 'Mom, you should turn that into an Airbnb.'”
She is glad she took their advice. Leigh-Manuell, 65, estimates the little apartment has netted $20,000 in bookings this year through Airbnb, an online marketplace that offers alternatives to traditional hotel stays.
“That's a nice little chunk of change for someone who's retired,” she said last week.
Leigh-Manuell is one of nearly 4,000 Airbnb hosts in Indiana who collectively earned more than $21 million by renting homes, apartments and other spaces in 2017, according to the company. Hosts in Indiana typically earn about $4,700 annually, an Airbnb spokesman said.
“The 175,000 guest arrivals to Indiana via Airbnb represents 108 percent year-over-year growth,” the company said in a statement. “This comes as Hoosiers increasingly embrace the home sharing platform as an opportunity to earn supplemental income and make ends meet.”
Indianapolis drew 73,000 visitors, and hosts there earned more than $8.4 million in 2017. Fort Wayne ranked fifth on Airbnb's Indiana list of host income, with $437,900.
The company reported hosts in South Bend, Bloomington and Michigan City earned a combined $5.6 million this year.
Airbnb has faced criticism and questions about privacy and whether some renters are property managers rather than homeowners looking to provide short-term rentals. It also has tried to counter the hotel industry, which argues that Airbnb is cutting into its business without having to charge guests lodging taxes.
Jonathon Day, an associate professor at the Purdue University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, said it's difficult to determine how much Airbnb affects traditional hotels and motels. Citing research from STR, an industry monitoring company, he said year-to-date occupancy at hotels and motels is up nearly 1 percent.
“The big question is how much Airbnb is impacting hotels,” Day said in an email. “There is some evidence that the impact is not that great.
“I believe that Airbnb has found a sector in that market that is looking for something different to the traditional hotel – and that Airbnb will be around for the long haul.”
That's the key for renters like Leigh-Manuell. She said hotels and motels simply don't work for some of her guests.
A Norwegian couple came to Fort Wayne to adopt a baby, she said, and didn't want to spend time with the child in a hotel. Her property can also offer children a backyard in which they can play, she said.
“It brings a lot of people to Fort Wayne who don't want to stay in hotels and who hotels don't really work for,” said Leigh-Manuell, who charges $75 per night for her apartment.
Liz Monnier is finishing her second year renting space in her home in the West Central neighborhood via Airbnb. Since posting the upstairs apartment on the website, she has rented more than 200 nights to visitors, she said.
More than a third of Airbnb hosts in Indiana rent out an extra, unused room, the company said.
“It suits me,” Monnier said. “It's nice to have it as a source of revenue, but I can have it flexible.”