Airbnb is growing rapidly across Tampa Bay; the average host earned $5,900 last year

Posted July 22, 2016

More than 16,000 Floridians shared their homes with travelers through Airbnb in 2015, earning an average of $7,200.

The Tampa Bay-Sarasota area ranked third in the state for hosts, with 2,300. They earned $5,900 on average last year and served a total of 82,400 guests. , according to a press release from the online booking service. That compares to 408,800 guests who booked in Miami and 154,900 who stayed in the Orlando area.

In total, Airbnb bookings in Florida grew 149% in 2015.

“This data shows how home sharing is creating economic opportunity for thousands of Floridians, while bringing more people to the Sunshine State to support our biggest industry: tourism,” said Michael O’Neil, regional manager of Airbnb’s public policies in a statement. .

The surge in Airbnb bookings comes as many Florida counties grapple with how to collect tourist taxes on short-term rentals. Airbnb rentals have come under fire in recent years for avoiding these fees.

Pinellas County was among the first in Florida to work with the online agency on collecting resort taxes at the time of booking. Late last year, other counties negotiated similar agreements, and Airbnb now collects tourism and sales taxes on its bookings in 27 Florida counties. Hillsborough, Sarasota and Manatee counties do not have such agreements. Hillsborough County rejected a deal with Airbnb earlier this year because it disagreed with Airbnb’s proposed terms, which were similar to the deal reached at Pinellas.

“We fully recognize that Airbnb and every sharing platform for that matter is the future of our company,” said Patrick Harrison, vice president of marketing and communications for Visit Tampa Bay, the tourism agency of the Hillsborough County. “The great thing about technology is that it tends to be 10 steps ahead of regulation and legislation. We’ll get to that soon.”

Airbnb bookings represent a small percentage of all bookings in the county, Harrison added. The Tampa area has approximately 22,000 hotel rooms.

Pinellas County has seen a small increase in tax revenue from Airbnb since last year, said David Downing, executive director of Visit St. Pete-Clearwater, the county’s tourism marketing office.

“We are happy to have these taxes made into the tourism pie in Pinellas, but it is important to remember that the discussion is not over,” Downing said. “There are still outstanding questions about this at the granular and local municipal level.”

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

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