Airbnb popularity surges in West Mass ahead of leaf fall season

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – Less than a week has passed since the official start of fall, which is a popular time for tourists flocking to New England, especially here in western Massachusetts.

However, where are all these visitors staying?

Western Mass News gets answers on why so many people are turning to roommates like Airbnb over hotels.

“Anywhere in New England in the fall is beautiful,” said Springfield Airbnb host Kristen Tortoriello.

The fall foliage hasn’t peaked yet, but the leaf peepers will be on their way soon. During the fall months, Western Massachusetts typically sees an influx of visitors from near and far, but with more travelers comes more places to stay.

“You can find Airbnb hosts and listings in many cities where there are no hotels or where there are very few hotel options,” said Ben Breit, director of trust and safety communications. from Airbnb. “There are many great options in the more rural parts of Massachusetts.”

Airbnb is a home-sharing and short-term rental company founded in 2008 with rentals in over 220 countries and 100,000 cities large and small.

However, in recent years, the reservation company has grown significantly and one of the driving factors is the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As people were looking to get out of their homes, but wanted to do so safely and responsibly, they found they could do so in an Airbnb listing,” Breit told us. “Social distancing and not being in a crowded hotel at a time, where a lot of people were uncomfortable with that.

Breit told Western Mass News that as the company’s popularity grows, they strive to ensure an enjoyable stay for guests and hosts, which does not include any parties.

A new feature being added to Airbnb listings in Massachusetts and nationwide is anti-party technology. It provides tools to identify high-risk bookings and prevent them from going through.

“So what this technology is doing is looking at certain tributes from the reservation that might indicate an unauthorized party,” Breit explained. “Once in a while, there are people who don’t look for the right reasons not to be honest about their intentions, and who might try to throw an unauthorized party, so it’s a high priority for us to try to the best of our abilities to eradicate this.

The technology requires guests to verify that they are who they say they are, by looking at rental length, location, age of guests and how long they have had an Airbnb account.

However, for Kristen Tortoriello, her experience as an Airbnb host has been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s perfect,” she told us. “It’s a nice quiet little area to study in and it’s off campus away from the chaos.”

Totoriello purchased the property with her husband in the fall of 2018, hoping to provide a welcoming place for visitors to Western Massachusetts.

She told us her guest list ranged from doctors and nurses at the height of the pandemic to families with children to Big E vendors and college students.

“We get people hiking and things like that,” she said. “We have Monson Academy just across the border, and two families have already come and stayed a few nights, helping their kids move in, and we have Western New England University right here.”

Tortoriello said she prefers a short-term rental to a hotel because she enjoys the personal vibe of a home.

“I love getting to know hosts and hearing why they host and seeing the different things they do, and then bringing in the good stuff,” she said. “You know, the stuff I like to see, at my Airnnb.”

Breit said he only saw their popularity grow.

“What we’re really seeing and anticipating is the travel rebound of the century,” he told us. “We see a lot of people going to really scenic lake towns and mountains, wherever it is, not just for three days, but maybe for three months. And if you were staying that long, we really want the comforts of home.

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