Visit Tampa Bay partners with Airbnb to help local tourism rebound and recover from pandemic effects
Tourism, one of Florida’s largest and growing industries before COVID-19, is starting to recover after suffering a massive economic blow in the first months of the pandemic.
As visitors return to contribute to a slow but sure recovery, Visit Tampa Bay is partnering with Airbnb on its recently launched new pilot project called City Portal to track and better understand the visitor experience. The city of Tampa was chosen as one of 15 pilot cities for the research initiative.
City portal was created exclusively for governments and tourism organizations to help drive the recovery and continue its core mission of providing a source of income for Airbnb hosts.
“We have had a solid relationship with Airbnb for years, so this partnership has come naturally,” said Santiago C. Corrada, President and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “At Visit Tampa Bay, we always strive to be trailblazers and trendsetters. in the industry, so when we’re asked to do something that’s never been done before, we’re happy to sign up.
“Tourism is at the forefront of Hillsborough County’s economic recovery, and Airbnb’s city portal provides us with invaluable information on travel trends in the Tampa Bay area, which is useful for help us navigate the path to tourism recovery. “
Corrada shares that the US Travel Association predicted losses estimated at $ 505 billion to the industry and 8 million jobs lost nationwide, many small businesses. “In Tampa Bay, our hotel occupancy rate is low, but better than most [other cities] … an impact that could have been much worse without our recovery efforts.
Tampa Bay government leaders and tourism organizations have turned to Airbnb for help with post-pandemic planning. They sought real-time actionable information to better understand the Airbnb landscape within their communities, technical support and resources to leverage tourism to rebuild their community’s tourism economy, and regulatory compliance tools. .
City Portal addresses these needs with localized tools and data, resources such as the Airbnb Neighborhood Support hotline and law enforcement portal, and direct access to an Airbnb team member who can provide assistance. with the City Portal or local issues.
“This new portal is a game-changer,” says Corrada. “Now that we are able to see what occupation looks like in our neighborhoods, we will have a better idea of where our visitors are coming from, where they are staying and how they impact the economy of our county.
Corrada looks forward to the long-term results of the partnership. He says Visit Tampa Bay anticipates an increase in the popularity of Airbnb vacation rentals, given the current circumstances brought on by the pandemic.
“Vacation rentals lend themselves well to physical distance, smaller groups, and even dining options,” he says. “We are excited to see how this translates into statistical numbers in this new dashboard as we work to better understand our tourism landscape and move towards continued recovery. “