Jun 17, 2023 - Real Estate

How Airbnb hosts make bank in Tampa Bay

Note: Available listings are defined as properties with at least one day booked or available during the month. Data: AirDNA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Airbnb exploded when it entered the short-term rental scene because it was cheaper than a hotel room. Now that's not necessarily true.

Why it matters: Airbnb hosts in Tampa Bay made 11% less than the typical host in the U.S. last year, according to company figures shared with Axios.

Zoom in: Jared Higginbotham bought short-term rental (STR) properties back in 2008 — the same year that Airbnb was founded.

  • In 2017, he launched Teal Door Hosting, an STR management company in Tampa.

If you're considering becoming a short-term rental host, here are some ways to stand out, Higginbotham says.

  • Be available. Guests will message you at all hours, from simple questions to wanting the pool cleaned.
  • Share local recommendations. A list of hidden gems, dog parks, family-friendly activities or restaurants can go a long way.
  • A well-designed space is just the start. Guests are more likely to come back if you enhance their experience. If you know someone is coming to celebrate their birthday, for example, leave a card on the counter.
  • Use your network. From cleaners to pest control experts, you'll need a reliable group of people to help keep your property vacation-rental ready.
  • Prioritize maintenance. Regularly inspect your property and make updates as needed.

Of note: Florida requires a vacation rental license, and local laws vary.

  • If you want to become a host, Robin Miller, CEO of Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber, recommends enlisting a registered management company to help navigate laws and taxes.
  • If you don't work with a management company, she recommends calling the city hall that governs the city you wish to host in.

Zoom out: New data from AirDNA shows big growth in the suburbs of St. Petersburg and Tampa, listing them as two of the hottest short-term rental cities in the country, Selene reports.

  • Short-term rentals are one way to bank supplemental income as the cost of housing rises across Tampa Bay.

Bottom line: You can make a solid income through STRs, but it's not passive.

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