Tallahassee visitors turning to Airbnbs

AirBnB vs Hotels.
Photo Courtesy of Google.

Opening your home to strangers might not sound the best, but when money is involved it may change your mind. 

Most people enjoy the comfort, affordability and feeling that staying in a home gives them as opposed to a hotel.

Airbnb is a prime example of comfort and affordability and it is starting to gain popularity.

Airbnb started in 2007 by three men who leased their living room space to strangers and generated profit. Over the years, their business grew and is now expanded all over the United States.

For some cities, bed tax is becoming an issue because people are steering away from hotels and lodging in an Airbnb. This is an issue in Leon County; some hotels claim Airbubs are taking away from their profit margin.

While Tallahassee may not seem like a popular city to visit, more tourists are visiting the city both short- and long-term, according to the Leon County-Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce.

Florida State University brings in thousands of tourists during football season and for graduations. A breakdown of Airbnb income on gameday weekends is shown on Tallahassee.com.

“As an Airbnb homeowner, my husband and I are very welcoming. We enjoy opening our home to visitors and allowing them to gain a great experience,” said Claudia Scruggs.

In 2018, Leon County officials entered an agreement with Airbnb to collect bed tax on short-term rentals.  Airbnb generated a whopping $189,000 in 2018 when city officials expected to gain only $46,000 for the year.

Interim president of the Minority Chambers of Commerce, Gina Kinchlow said, “The Airbnb industry and hotel industry are both important. I can understand how hotels could find incredible competition with Airbnb. Airbnb’s aren’t going anywhere so hotels should find ways to step up their game.”

More than 28,000 visitors to Tallahassee used Airbnb last year.  The number of visitors in the area also increased to 2.4 million people in 2018 alone.

Officials and managers at local hotels worry that traditional hotels cannot compete against vacation rental companies.

MIT professor Michael Cusumano conducted a study that showed that hotels are likely not to go out of business because they are reliable and localized in design. They also provide services that vacation rental homes cannot, including hosting large events and transportation.

“I prefer to use an Airbnb specifically because I’m not of age to get a hotel room at the moment. They are also cheaper and fit more people comfortably. The most recent one I stayed in was in Atlanta, where I shared the space with seven other individuals. We had a great time and I know for sure I would rent another home again,” said Jocelyn Gunn.