Airbnb gaining popularity in Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Airbnb is a community marketplace where people can rent out their home or a room in their home online. It’s popular in bigger cities but more and more people are doing it now in our area. And more visitors than ever are staying in Airbnbs.

For Doug Kruse, being a host on Airbnb helps him pay his mortgage. He bought a three-bedroom house, more space than he needs, to rent it out on the weekends. “I’m a single guy, no kids, no weekend responsibilities to speak of so I enjoy traveling.”

According to an Airbnb representative, last year the number of people in Fort Wayne hosting on the site went up 70%.

Kruse said he’s had perfect luck with his. “I get to live well and help people enjoy Fort Wayne and they help pay for my mortgage. I can’t complain.”

Mike Anderson took over the La Salle bed and breakfast in October and runs it through Airbnb, offering a historic option for visitors. “We’ve had 40 or 50 stays with us. We’ve learned a lot and we’ve had a lot of fun doing it.”

The house, built in the 1850’s, is broken into different rooms for rent. Speaking of renting, the number of guests in Fort Wayne Airbnbs went up 140% this year. None of the hosts NewsChannel 15 talked to were surprised to hear that. “This is a lot of fun and it’s certainly different than the sterile environment that you’re going to find in a hotel,” Anderson said.

But Fort Wayne is behind the band wagon. The next biggest city in Indiana, Indianapolis, brought in $8.42 million in revenue for hosts. Fort Wayne brought in just a little over $400,000. Still, you can’t deny the trend is growing.

“With the push Fort Wayne, especially downtown, has been having to bring people in and make it family-friendly and make it a livable place where you enjoy coming to- people enjoy living in a home more than a hotel,” Kruse said.

“Airbnb is a fun way to travel. It’s a safe way to travel. It’s an affordable way to travel. You get to meet people and interact and you get to feel a city for what it really is not just the same hotel you find in every city regardless of where you go,” Anderson said.

The representative we talked to said 26% of hosts in Fort Wayne are seniors ages 60 and older and he hasn’t seen that statistic anywhere else. He called the growth in Fort Wayne of 140% in visitors “remarkable growth. He also said overall, the typical Fort Wayne host earns about $4,100 a year in supplemental income through Airbnb.