Airbnb home rentals skyrocketing in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis is becoming a major destination for people trying to rent a home or apartment for a few days instead of renting a hotel room.

“My grown son knew I wanted to make some extra money, so a couple years ago, he suggested I try Airbnb. I told him he was crazy if he wanted me to have a bunch of strangers staying in my house,” said Patricia Royer, Airbnb host.

That was Royer’s opinion two years ago.  Since then she tried out Airbnb and thinks it’s a great idea for renters and rentees.

She said it has put thousands of dollars in her pockets. The people at Airbnb say they are hearing similar stories all over the Midwest, especially in Indianapolis.

“We're finding that Indianapolis is a place people really want to visit, especially for major events. Indianapolis now has 1000 Airbnb hosts, far more than just a few years ago,” said Ben Breit, Airbnb Press Secretary.

The statistics are just in for Indianapolis. Last year alone, 27 thousand people visited Indy using Airbnb. We’ve also learned a typical Indianapolis host rents just 2 days a month or 26 days per year. And there’s a huge variety of choices to rent.

“If you want a giant mansion, you can probably find that on Airbnb, but you can also find a room for as low as 20 or 30 bucks,” said Breit.

Royer’s home is just outside of downtown Indianapolis. She charges $60 per night during the week and $70 on the weekend. Royer rents rooms 15 to 20 days per month. She has two rooms upstairs and lives on the middle floor.

Royer says, the Airbnb site is easy to navigate whether you're the renter or customer. If you’re interested in renting out your place, only a few dollars goes to Airbnb. You can set prices, change prices if you want and block out dates when you don’t want visitors.

As an Airbnb host, you can choose to stay in the house while you're renting, or go somewhere else.  40% of hosts in Indianapolis stay in their homes while renting. For Royer, the money is great, but she told FOX59, more often than not, people come in as strangers, and leave as friends.

“I’ve had a couple of ladies I've gone to Nashville with that have been my guests. Others have come to my son’s concerts even.  He is a musician. Many of my renters stay in contact, and we often chat to this day,” said Royer.

Royer and Breit say Airbnb is not for everyone, but if you want to give it a try, here’s some advice.

“When you go to look for an Airbnb, read all of their profile, read their information about who they are, what the place is like and where you're going to be staying,” said Royer.