TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Airbnb hosts in Tippecanoe County helped bring more than a million dollars in revenue to the county throughout 2018.
Tippecanoe County was 6th in the state for highest amount of money made through the home rental site with $1.1 million in supplemental income.
Numbers area also showing that the county welcomed 9,500 guests this past year.
“It's just amazing to see how one spot on the map brings in so many people from all over the world,” said Lafayette Airbnb host Angie Verissimo.
Verissimo comes from a world of finance. By day, she works for NASA’s Indiana Space Grant Consortium. It’s a job that has allowed her to travel a lot, which she said she greatly enjoys.
But in August of 2017, she got into the tourism and hospitality business by chance.
“This was a phone call that came from a friend asking me to buy the building and I didn’t know what to do with it,” she said. “It’s been a journey that I never expected.”
She turned the commercial property near downtown Lafayette into a three-unit Airbnb that she said is rarely empty.
“Airbnb has told me that I have rented to 598 people from 20 different countries,” she said.
She said that it’s important for cultures to be exchanged between guests who come from outside the U.S. borders.
“I think we do a pretty good job with reaching out to cultures that are coming to our community,” she said.
Earlier this year, Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law that protects private property rights to participate in short-term rentals. A bill that has helped bring in $36 million dollars to the state through Indiana's tourism economy.
Money that gets put back into our local economies. Verissimo said she makes an effort to inform her guests about the local restaurants, attractions, and events in the area.
“I really want to get the people who come for Airbnb to enjoy the community,” she said.
She said that being an Airbnb host comes with a lot of responsibilities.
“You have to like to do laundry and clean up after guests,” she said. “And you have to be ready to get a call from someone at 1:30 in the morning who has been locked out.”
But she said the cons of being an Airbnb host are very much outweighed by the pros. She said often times, guests will leave little gifts such as chocolate or a magnet or other trinket from their hometown as a way to show appreciation.
Some have even left invitations for her to come visit them.
“I have met some amazing people,” she said. “I have been personally invited to their homes and I hope to get to take some of these adventures in 2019.”