August 05, 2016
The biggest competitive threat to hit the hotel industry in years, Airbnb, has made big strides in Florida.
Airbnb, which calls itself a community-driven hospitality company, says more than 750,000 people visited the Sunshine State last year via its online residential rental marketplace. That’s up 149% over 2014, the company says. On the host side, more than 16,000 Floridians shared their homes, or a room in their home, on the Airbnb platform in 2015. The typical host, says Airbnb, earned $7,200 sharing his or her space for 41 nights during 2015.
“This data demonstrates the ways home sharing is creating economic opportunity for thousands of Floridians, while also bringing more people to the Sunshine State to support our largest industry: tourism,” says Michael O’Neil, Airbnb’s Regional Head of Public Policy, in a statement regarding the data analysis.
Airbnb, in its report, also defended itself against one of its biggest criticisms from hotel chains — that by using everyday homeowners it avoids bed taxes and other fees. The company says it’s currently collecting and remitting the Florida Transient Rental Tax and Sales Tax, in addition to county-rate tourism/bed taxes in 27 counties, including Lee, Pasco, and Pinellas. Those agreements, say Airbnb officials, generate millions in additional tax revenue every year.
“We are committed to working with municipalities across the state to make it easier for our host community to pay their fair share of taxes,” says O’Neil. “We have a productive relationship with the state and several counties, and are having conversations with officials in many other counties to streamline the tax collection process and ensure our hosts can continue contributing to their local community.”
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