WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has released a new study that provides a detailed analysis of the rise in commercial activity taking place in Miami on Airbnb, one of the most trafficked short-term rental websites. The study was conducted by John O’Neill, MAI, ISHC, Ph.D., professor of hospitality management and director of the Center for Hospitality Real Estate Strategy in the School of Hospitality Management at Penn State University, and examined activity on Airbnb between October 2014 and September 2015.
The report shows that among the 14 markets studied, Miami has the highest percentage of multi-unit operators on Airbnb and full-time operators, those renting units out full-time.
Key findings: Full-time operators—those who listed their unit(s) for rent more than 360 days per year— accounted for more than $47 million or nearly 40 percent of Airbnb’s revenue in the Miami area, a higher percentage than in any of the other cities studied. Three-quarters of Airbnb’s revenue in the Miami metropolitan area (more than $93 million) came from the nearly 30 percent of operators who listed their unit(s) for rent for more than 180 days per year. Almost two-thirds (62 percent, the highest percentage of the 14 cities studied) of Airbnb’s revenue in the Miami region—more than $76 million—came from operators who listed multiple units for rent. The five Miami-area ZIP codes with the most properties listed on Airbnb accounted for more than $79 million, or 65 percent of Airbnb’s revenue in the Miami metropolitan area.
“As in many popular tourist destinations across the country, commercial landlords here in Miami are using short-term rental platforms like Airbnb to operate illegal hotel businesses that dodge taxes and duck rules and regulations that were put in place to protect our guests and the communities where we operate,” said Stefano Frittella, owner of the Pelican Hotel in Miami. “Furthermore, by driving up the cost of rent in the Miami area, illegal hotel operators on Airbnb are exacerbating the housing crisis that is hurting so many working families in Miami, making it harder to live and work in our communities.”
“These illegal businesses are not only disrupting Miami’s communities, but they are undermining one of the most important sectors of our economy. Florida’s hotel and lodging industry is an important segment of the state’s economy, employing more than 160,000 residents and generating $5.4 billion annually in state, local and federal taxes,” said Carol Dover, President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “Illegal operators on Airbnb are threatening the business climate that Miami has worked so hard to develop. If Airbnb wants to be a legal player in the lodging industry, they should have to follow the same basic rules as everyone else in order to ensure fairness, respect communities, and protect consumers.”
“Unregulated hotels operated in residential properties are disruptive to communities and pose serious safety concerns for guests, for communities and for neighborhoods,” said AH&LA President and Chief Executive Officer Katherine Lugar. “In Miami, as in cities around the country, we have seen that Airbnb is unwilling to be transparent with its data and be a partner in creating safe environments for its users and the communities in which it operates. And now we know why: a growing portion of Airbnb’s revenue comes from commercial landlords using the platform to operate unregulated and often illegal lodging businesses. This problem is particularly acute in Miami, where – more than in any of the 14 cities studied – multi-unit and full-time operators drive Airbnb’s revenue. Policymakers in Miami, in Florida and across the country should act to ensure a fair travel marketplace by closing the illegal hotel loophole.”
Miami is the fourth of 14 cities profiled in a series of reports that comprise a second phase of an analysis into the commercial activity being transacted on Airbnb’s platform. The initial analysis (“From Air Mattresses to Unregulated Business: An Analysis of the Other Side of Airbnb”) was released in January 2016.