NORA SPRINGS, Iowa - It's growing across the country, and while allowing random guests to stay in your home, condo or apartment may seem like a frightening idea, around 1,400 Iowa Airbnb hosts are embracing it, and earning some extra money.
Around $9.3 million was been collected by hosts in the Hawkeye State in 2018 according to the guest hospitality company, with each host earning around $3,700 during the year. In addition, the state collected over $900,000 in home sharing tax revenue thanks to a tax agreement with Airbnb that was enacted in 2017.
Karen Hutzell became interested in being a host through Airbnb as she used it on her travels, and is now the host of a building divided into apartments in Nora Springs as well as a cabin near Osage. Her guests have all been top shelf, but the company does have safeguards in place to protect against creeps.
"They help you with identity verification, and you can ask for certain things before you rent to somebody... get a copy of their license, or only travelers who have reviews from other Airbnb hosts so that you know they treated the property right."
And it helps provide a sense of routine and comfort for those new to the area.
"I think it's maybe quiet, small town... they want to stay at and it's very affordable. And its easy access to the avenue and I think it's a convenient location if you're working in the area."
Around 98,000 guests stayed at Airbnb properties in Iowa in 2018.