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Airbnb claims $840K in Seminole football business, $700K for Gators

Vacation rental homeowners marketed by Airbnb in Tallahassee and Gainesville combined to welcome nearly 14,000 visitors during the seven weekends of Florida State and University of Florida home football games, the company announced Monday.

It means, Airbnb stated in a news release, that Tallahassee vacation rental home guests in its system earned $840,000 during Seminole football game weekends, and those in Gainesville earned $700,000 in Gator football weekends. Those figures include a projected $125,000 expected in Tallahassee this weekend when the Gators go to Florida State, based on reservations.

For several years running the home-sharing industry, including Airbnb, HomeAway and other internet-based home sharing platforms, has lobbied for bills to make home-sharing more universally accepted, with limited regulation, throughout the state, while the hotel industry has charged the new business concept needs control at least on par with what hotels already meet.

In releasing its football weekend numbers, Airbnb argued that the vacation rental community is complementing, not competing with, the hotel industry.

“Florida hotels continue to experience strong growth in occupancy rates, prices and revenue — in parallel with vacation rental growth,” the company stated in a news release issued Monday. “This suggests that vacation rentals on Airbnb and other platforms are opening up the state to a new demographic of visitors 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.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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