New Data Quantifies the Reach of Airbnb
The bulk of the article details the findings of a first-of-its-kind data analysis of Airbnb operations, which is typically protective of data that tells the story of how and when its services are uses. "Although the company refuses to release numbers, a data analysis commissioned by The Chronicle found almost 5,000 San Francisco homes, apartments, and private or shared rooms for rent via Airbnb. Two-thirds were entire houses or apartments, showing how far Airbnb has come from its couch-surfer origins, and contradicting its portrayal as a service for people who rent out a spare room and interact with guests," according to the Chronicle's coverage.
Connotate Inc., a Web data harvesting firm, compiled the data from Airbnb’s website. Findings break down the total number of units are rented, what kinds of houses or apartments are rented, and how much they cost, among other metrics.
Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of SPUR, is quoted in the article, providing his take on the findings: "From a policy perspective, the real issue is whether there are a lot of units that have been removed from the housing market because of short-term rentals…It looks like that’s not a big number yet, but that’s what we need regulation to control so it doesn’t become big."
The Chronicle's broad coverage includes maps of the number of neighborhood rentals and average daily prices, as well as a suite of stories that dig deeper into the experience Airbnb.