Northwest Indiana residents raked in $3.1 million this summer from renting their homes or rooms through Airbnb.
Visitors rented 164,700 rooms in Indiana from Memorial Day through Labor Day, according to the San Francisco-based hospitality industry disruptor that provides an online marketplace for lodging. The Hoosier state's top-five destinations were Indianapolis, South Bend, Bloomington, Michigan City and the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.
Travelers rented more than 11,160 nights in LaPorte County, where Lake Michigan beach rentals are especially popular in lakefront communities like Michigan City, Long Beach and Michiana Shores. LaPorte County users of Airbnb brought in $2.1 million in income, putting 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 income for residents.
Porter County ranked 10th with 3,821 nights and $466,000 in income.
Statewide, most of Indiana's Airbnb guests hailed from Chicago, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Cincinnati and Louisville. More than 80,000 Hoosiers have booked rooms through Airbnb to travel over the past year.
"The summer of 2019 saw more Airbnb guest arrivals in Indiana than ever before,” said Kelley Gossett, Airbnb policy director for Indiana. “Airbnb helped expand tourism in the state, benefiting hosts and local businesses, and the state with additional tax revenue. We look forward to continuing working with all levels of government in Indiana to ensure short-term rentals can continue to play a strong role in the entire state economy.”
Airbnb is not without local critics, including South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority president and CEO Speros Batistatos, who has charged that Airbnb operators do not shoulder as much of the tax burden as hotels, are not regulated as much for guests' safety, and that rentals in neighborhoods zoned for residential use are unfair to neighbors seeking peace and quiet.