Airbnb recently announced that its Florida vacation rental hosts earned a combined $450 million in supplemental income while welcoming approximately 2.7 million guests to the state in 2017.
St. Johns County comes in at No. 12 on the company’s list of top 20 counties in Florida in terms of guest arrivals, earning $8.8 million and welcoming 64,800guests in 2017.
The 2.7 million total guests to Florida represent 75 percent year-over-year growth. There are now nearly 40,000 Floridians who share their homes or vacation rentals through Airbnb, with each host typically earning about $6,700 annually.
Airbnb said statewide data indicates that the vacation rental community is complementing — rather than competing with — the Florida hotel industry. The company said Florida hotels experienced strong growth in occupancy rates, prices and revenue during 2017 — in parallel with vacation rental growth for the year. Airbnb says this suggests that vacation rentals on the company’s website and other platforms are opening the state to a new demographic of tourists by catering to travelers who are less able to afford hotels, those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels and families who prefer to vacation together under one roof.
In addition to the new personal income going into the pockets of Florida hosts, Airbnb said the vacation rental community is also generating new public revenues that benefit the state and dozens of local communities through tax agreements that allow the company to collect and remit taxes on behalf of its hosts.
Airbnb is currently authorized to collect and pay the state sales tax on all bookings in Florida, in addition to collecting and paying local bed taxes in 39 counties. In 2017 alone, Airbnb said it secured new tax agreements with six counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, Sarasota, Polk, Hillsborough and Leon. The company will release a 2017 county-by-county tax report once the December taxes are remitted.