The downtown skyline.

Love them or hate them, the world’s largest short-term rental hub, Airbnb, announced that its hosts in Greater Houston earned a combined $72 million in supplemental income, welcoming 512,000 guests to our area in 2018. 

More than 30,000 Texan residents currently share their homes via Airbnb, and in Houston these hosts typically earn about $5,100 annually. The Houston area is also home to some of Airbnb’s most popular rentals in Texas, so you know some folks are raking in more than that.

Despite its growth, Airbnb suggests that its hosts are complementing the Texas hotel industry, rather than competing with it, though, and the Texas Tourism Report—last released for 2017—does seem to back this up. Texas hotels have been experiencing fairly robust growth, and so have short-term rentals, though most of these Airbnbs are popping up in our rural counties.  

Last year, Airbnb also began collecting and remitting the Texas state occupancy tax on behalf of its hosts, delivering $15.3 million in tax revenue to the state in 2018, nearly double its initial projections. The company’s online accommodation marketplace provides access to 5 million-plus places to stay in more than 81,000 cities and 191 countries, but it's also faced criticism about its effect on the long-term rental market in numerous cities around the world, inciting backlash and stiff regulations in at least a dozen tourist destinations, from Los Angeles to New Orleans to Dublin, Ireland.

For the most part, Houston has seemed to welcome the company with open arms. Airbnb's Experiences launched in the region last year, offering activities including Cajun cooking, touring a plane home, or kayaking in Galveston Bay, all led by locals. You can find these experiences right here.

Here’s the breakdown of 2018 guest arrivals and total host income by county:

County

2018

Total Host Income

2018

Total Guest Arrivals

Harris

$44 million

285,000

Galveston

$19.6 million

163,000

Montgomery

$3 million

22,000

Brazoria

$2.1 million

16,000

Fort

Bend

$1.5 million

9,600

Washington

$590,000

4,300

Calhoun

$277,000

2,400

Matagorda

$273,000

2,000

Polk

$172,000

1,700

Walker

$112,000

1,400

San

Jacinto

$105,000

1,100

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