Airbnb, the service that lets anyone rent out their home for short-term lets, brings the UK economy more than half a billion pounds each year and provides thousands of jobs, according to a study commissioned by the company.

While it’s normal for any company to want to shout about its progress around the world, it’s a particularly important point for Airbnb, which has seen resistance to its service operating in some cities and ultimately led us to ponder whether the clock is ticking for the wider sharing economy.

According to the study, which looked at Airbnb data between November 2012 and October 2013 and included an additional survey of 3,956 responses, the company generated £502 million of economic activity – £357 million of which was in London alone. Additionally, the company found that Airbnb visitors to the UK’s capital seemed to be bigger spenders, with £1,231 splashed out during the average stay, compared to £474 for “normal visitors”, the company said.

In total, the UK had 14,424 hosts, who earned an average of £2,822 from renting their properties out for around 33 nights per year.

kensington uk 255217 730x486 Airbnb: We bring the UK more than £500m in economic activity

Overall, there were 513,006 outbound guests, and 373,685 inbound guests during the period, and perhaps contrary to some people’s belief, 80 percent of UK Airbnb hosts are offering up their primary residence, while only 20 percent are using it as a way to temporarily fill a second home for some extra cash, according to the data. According to the surveyed hosts, some 44 percent said that money from Airbnb’s short-term rentals allowed them to stay in their homes in the long-term, while 63 percent said it allowed them to pay bills they would otherwise have not been able to pay.

It’s good to see Airbnb sharing detailed figures about its operations in specific countries and cities, but with a wildly varying regulatory landscape governing short-term lets around the world – and even between individual cities – the data can’t necessarily be taken as a sign of future performance or as replicable in other locations.

Featured Image Credit – Håkan Dahlström / Flickr