Rural Airbnb hosts in Minnesota have seen profits increase since pandemic began

Last year has been dubbed the summer of car travel and RV rental, but according to new data from Airbnb, the pandemic has also created demand for more rural travel, especially here. in Minnesota.

The increase, according to a statement, provides a “new economic lifeline” for local Airbnb hosts in rural parts of the state.

“As visitors seek a safe change of scenery – and the chance to reconnect with nature – the unique and remote outdoor spaces have never been more precious or more precious,” the statement said.

In fact, Airbnb estimates that individual hosts in rural Minnesota have earned more than $ 6,900 each on average since the pandemic was declared last March. During the same period, rural Minnesota hosts earned a total of $ 23.3 million, nearly double the 2019 average. Based on 2019 Airbnb data, a rural Minnesota host can earn nearly of $ 3,300 in one summer.

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According to the release, rural hosts make up a quarter of Airbnb hosts in the United States, and on average, the typical host has earned a total of $ 8,448 since the start of the pandemic – more than $ 2,000 more than the 2019 average.

One month away from Memorial Day weekend, Airbnb said this tendency to stay in rural and off the beaten track areas is still desirable for vacationers, with site searches for destinations further out of the country during the holidays increasing. by almost 40%. in the past month.

“From outdoor destinations to unique off-grid stays, customers are looking for a truly tailored outdoor experience,” the statement said. “In many cases, the stays that customers seek are as important as the destinations themselves. From glamping and farm stays to minimalist mini-houses, these are the unique types of stays in vogue for Memorial Day vacations.

In total, rural Minnesota hosts earned $ 23.3 million over the same period, nearly double the 2019 average. Photo courtesy of Airbnb.com.

In total, rural Minnesota hosts earned $ 23.3 million over the same period, nearly double the 2019 average. Photo courtesy of Airbnb.com.

Yet short-term rental is a double-edged sword for communities.

Hosts can benefit tremendously from this, and tourism and the local economy can benefit when visitors to the rentals spend money in the community.

Jamin Carlson, of the Greater Bemidji Region Joint Planning Council, said research has shown that short-term rentals can also provide a financial benefit to a city through accommodation taxes.

In general, there is a general concern that short-term rentals could turn quiet neighborhoods into noisy vacation neighborhoods, which some long-time residents say disrupts their property’s value and their way of life. In large cities, there are fears that rentals could cause housing unavailability and soar in housing prices.

Various cities across the country have attempted to rule and regulate short-term rentals. For example, some have imposed taxes on them and limited them to certain neighborhoods or types of buildings. And some, like Bemidji, have banned them completely.

Short-term vacation rentals, such as Airbnbs, have not been allowed within Bemidji city limits or in the Northern Township since the town planning council passed the decision in 2018 due to concerns from close neighbors.

Carlson said there had been informal discussions at joint planning council meetings to revisit the topic of reintroducing short-term rentals in Bemidji City and Northern Township. But for now, he said, everything is still pending.

“There has been some interest from some elected officials who I think would at least like to discuss it,” Carlson said. “I don’t know where it’s going to go because at the end of the day it’s up to the board to decide.”

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