January 7, 2019

Worcester County not a popular Airbnb destination in 2018

Worcester County wasn't a very popular destination for Airbnb guests in 2018.

Despite having the state's second-largest city, Worcester County ranked near the bottom in Massachusetts for 2018 income and guests on hospitality platform Airbnb.

Worcester County saw 24,700 guests, and and hosts took in $3.4 million in income. Both figures rank the Central Massachusetts county at ninth out of 13 Massachusetts counties.

First on both lists is Suffolk County, which includes Boston, with 465,500 guests and hosts making $101.9 million. That's followed by Middlesex County, which includes much of MetroWest, with 230,100 guests and $51.7 million in income.

The Cape Cod county of Barnstable ranked third with 166,300 guests and an income of $40 million.

Statewide, Airbnb hosts renting out their home to vacationers or travelers earned $256.4 million while welcoming 1.2 million guests, the company said.

According to Airbnb, over 15,700 Massachusetts hosts share their homes on the platform, typically earning about $7,800 annually.

The company's announcement of its Massachusetts data comes just weeks after the state legislature signed a bill -- signed by Gov. Charlie Baker -- to regulate short-term housing rentals in the state like hotels.

The bill requires every host to register with the state and carry insurance. It also allows for municipalities to enact a local tax of up to 6 percent in addition to a 5.7 percent state tax.

The company opposed the bill.

"This 2018 data demonstrates not only the success of the community that we have built in Massachusetts, but also the significant role that home sharing plays in the financial futures of families across the Commonwealth," said Andrew Kalloch, head of Massachusetts public policy for Airbnb, in a statement. "There is no doubt that short-term rentals are an economic engine for hosts, communities and local small businesses alike -- one that we will continue to fight to protect and expand as we kick off 2019."


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