Summit County Airbnbs host second most summer guests in the state

A Summit County resident browses property listings on the Airbnb app.
Liz Copan /

BRECKENRIDGE — After Denver County, Summit County placed second on the list of Colorado counties for bringing in the most summer guests via Airbnb. Summit County Airbnb hosts made $14.6 million in total 2019 summer income, based on booking data from the company for May 24 through Sept. 2, 2019. Total summer 2019 guest arrivals amounted to 88,700. Breckenridge was listed as the third most popular destination for Airbnb guests to stay in Colorado.

For comparison, total summer income for Denver county hosts was $30.5 million and total income for Eagle county hosts was $4.7 million. Combined, Colorado Airbnb hosts took in 885,300 guests over the summer, earning $148.1 million.

“The Airbnb community continues generating significant, positive economic impact across Denver,” said Laura Spanjian, Airbnb senior policy director for Colorado, in a company press release. “With more guest arrivals this summer than ever before, hosts and small businesses are receiving an economic boost from this expanded tourism economy and the state is receiving additional tax revenue as a result of this growth.” 

Summit County officials have made efforts to limit the conversion of long-term rentals to short-term rentals but Airbnb continues to be a way for home and condo owners to make easy income when they aren’t occupying the space. 

“We’ve similarly seen those numbers before,” said Haley Littleton, public information officer for the town of Breckenridge. “We certainly know that it is a big market and a lot of the discussion in council is we know we have these bigger houses that are geared more towards short-term rentals.”

These houses and condos that have long been short-term rental locations are an important part of the local economy and this is recognized by the town. However, the town passed first reading of an ordinance to place some restrictions on occupancy for short-term rentals. The goal of the occupancy ordinance was to “ensure that STR properties are managed in a manner that minimizes impacts to our residential neighborhoods,” as stated in Breckenridge’s Sept. 10 town council regular meeting packet. 

“We’re trying to find the right balance between building our economy and having a great experience for our guests, but also have housing for locals,” said Littleton.

As for the Summit Association of Realtors’ take on these facts and what is going on with short-term rentals in Summit County, Jason Smith, former president of the association and current president of Colorado Real Estate Summit County, LLC, sees a healthy amount of Airbnb visitors as a win-win.

“We’re not surprised. Who wouldn’t want to spend a week or a weekend in Summit County?” said Smith. “We have a lot of options for people who want to be here and for homeowners that’s a stat that’s really good because it shows consistent revenue for people who want to recover some of their costs and make money.”

Smith also feels that legislation formed in Summit County towns is being very inclusive of all interests of the county.

“As far as legislation, I think the towns and the county are trying to create a really common sense approach to make a positive experience for both visitors and the people who live here,” said Smith. “Everybody has a vested interest here. The neighbor that doesn’t rent still wants people to come because it helps their job.”

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