Airb&b Brings Big Lodging Money to Pocahontas County
Cara Rose, the Executive Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau has some exciting news about the amount of lodging money generated in Pocahontas County by tourists who use Airb&b to book their stays here.
Cara, tell me about Airb&b.
“Sure, let me start off by sharing with our listeners today that traffic to Pocahontas County is on the rise” said Cara. “The Hotel/Motel tax has been up over the previous year every single month, and it looks like we are on track to have our best fiscal year ever with Hotel/Motel Tax in Pocahontas County. The six percent (6%) lodging tax is collected on every rental in Pocahontas County. And that includes just a variety of lodging establishments that collect the lodging tax and West Virginia Sales Tax whenever they rent a room in Pocahontas County. And that lodging tax does contribute to a wide range of organizations in Pocahontas County, supporting Arts, recreational opportunities, the Hospital, emergency services and of course the Convention and Visitors Bureau.”
“Airb&b released 2018 statistics at the end of December for West Virginia. Pocahontas County was responsible for seventeen percent (17%) of the entire State’s Airb&b revenue. It also accounted for twelve percent (12%) of all the arrivals in the State of West Virginia. Based on the numbers that Airb&b released in December, we should, in Pocahontas County, be getting around ninety-thousand dollars ($90,000) a year in Hotel/Motel Tax from those rentals, and that’s a pretty significant amount of money. We are by far, one of the most popular destinations in West Virginia. So I thought I would share a little bit about how Airb&b works. Airb&b is an online platform, Let’s say you]re planning a vacation, Tim, and you need lodging someplace. You have a variety of ways to book your lodging. The traditional way is to look for a lodging listing in a hotel, call that number and book a room. You can also go online. Go to the Marriott or snowshoe Mountain Resort website and book online. Airb&b is a relatively new platform. It started, I am guessing, around ten years ago as a platform for travelers who were on a shoestring budget, and they were looking for a couch to rent or a bed to rent, literally, in somebodies’ home. It’s grown into a much larger platform, and now it includes cabin rentals, secondary homes, condominiums, rooms in hotels that those hotels might place on Airb&b. So there are a lot of different ways a that a vacationer has to book lodging today, including Airb&b. And, me as an individual can go there and look for places to stay. On that platform, you have a variety of different choices. In Pocahontas County, there are a huge number of options for lodging on Airb&b. Hosts -those are the people who own the property or are rental agencies for those properties =do the booking, and then they collect the payment. And it is the responsibility of those hosts to collect and remit hotel/Motel Tax and Sales Tax.”
“Airb&b is a growing platform -it’s not going anywhere, this is the way people like to travel today. They like to have a variety of ways to book. I think the message here today is that Airb&b is pretty impactful around the world as a lodging platform. It’s very impactful to the State of West Virginia, to the tune of about ten-million dollars, and seventeen percent (17%) or one point seven million dollars of that was generated in Pocahontas County.”
“One of the really neat things about Airb&b is that you have the ability to rate the lodging and they also have the right to rate the guest. So it’s a really interesting platform that allows other hosts to know that person who rented before. So those reviews of that traveler follow that traveler around. So when you rent to somebody, you can look and see what kind of guest that person was at the other places where they stayed and it works the other way around as well. It keeps everyone honest and it’s a pretty smooth operation.”