Here at AirDNA, we spend about 1% of our time writing blog posts and about 99% of our time working on the accuracy of our data. So when Airbnb publicly release numbers, we sit up; take notice; and compare our data to see how accurate it is. The results show we can continue to proudly boast we have the most accurate Airbnb data in the world.
This fairly rare opportunity for us came up just last week when Airbnb released their report on the Washington DC market. We were particularly interested because the folks at CBRE, the worldwide leader in real estate services, use our data and had previously published a report on the same market. This was a real test for us as there is nowhere to hide from the rigorous analysts at CBRE going through our data with a fine tooth comb and comparing against the official word from Airbnb.
The first thing that caught our eye was the pie chart Airbnb used to illustrate the composition of rental supply in the market. Our live webpage for the market has a similar pie chart updated monthly… how did they compare?
Making other apples-to-apples comparisons, however, proved to be a lot trickier for many reasons. First, the time period reported was different; CBRE’s report covered 12 months of AirDNA data beginning July 1, 2015, while Airbnb’s report began October 1, 2015. Airbnb also uses some interesting definitions to tell a story (in this case, the economic benefits Airbnb brings to the community) which is understandable, but it does make it challenging to find hard numbers to cross-reference. For example, we don’t see how many individual guests stay per Airbnb booking, but Airbnb often present statistics by guests. They also use terms like ‘Typical Host’, which likely does not include all hosts. Airbnb also tends to report median numbers, while we and CBRE use the more industry standard mean averages.
Yet some hard numbers come out that can’t be gamed. Like the number of “Hosts that have Hosted in the Last Year” and “Total Revenue to Hosts”. We took a look at those numbers and here are the results.
Number of Airbnb hosts that have hosted in the last year
Airbnb reports 4,400. Our data to CBRE indicated 4,513 hosts. 97.5% accuracy… a rate that can be counted upon by our customers, including lodging analysts, rental hosts, and investors.
Income earned by local households from hosting
Airbnb’s report cited $53 million. CBRE, based on our data, reported “Total Revenue” at $60,079,133. At first glance, one could think “close, but no cigar” – however, if you look at the definitions you’ll see we’re really close. Airbnb is reporting income actually received by hosts. On the other hand, CBRE is reporting to its hotel customers total dollars spent on Airbnb. This includes the 3% fee Airbnb levies on its hosts, and also includes the additional 6% to 12% the guest must pay to Airbnb (which averages about 9%). So in comparing AirDNA’s oranges to Airbnb’s apples, this is where we land:
$53M + ($53M * 9%) = $57,770,000 / $60,079,133 = 96.2%
Needless to say, AirDNA’s data accuracy of 96.2% makes us pretty happy, makes our customers happy, and reinforces our confidence to say that we are far and away the most trusted and accurate source of Airbnb data available anywhere. You can rely on us for the data you need, whether it is on a single property or for a large market.