The number of summer guests renting Maine homes through Airbnb has nearly doubled in two years, according to new data released by the company.
Airbnb rentals recorded 295,000 guest arrivals in Maine from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the San Francisco company said in a news release Wednesday.
Hosts made $55.7 million from rentals during that period, according to the company, which provides an online platform for guests to rent rooms, entire apartments or single-family homes. Airbnb is the leading home-sharing company in the U.S.
Two years ago, Airbnb reported 158,000 guests and about $27 million in revenue in Maine. Last year, there were 229,000 summer visitors and revenue of roughly $40 million.
“With more guest arrivals this summer than ever before, hosts and small businesses have been able to enjoy the opportunities created by an expanded tourism economy, while the state has benefited from additional tax revenue as a result of this growth,” Josh Meltzer, head of Northeast Public Policy for Airbnb, said in a written statement.
Communities in Maine and across the globe have responded to Airbnb’s popularity with local regulations. South Portland in July threatened fines and legal action against property owners violating its strict rules for short-term rentals. Neighboring Portland also has grappled with a surge of apartments and homes rented by the night or weekend amid an affordable housing crisis.
Increasing local scrutiny and regulation hasn’t dulled Airbnb’s appeal, Meltzer said.
“All across the world, we have seen firsthand how clear and fair regulations for short-term rentals can both address the needs of government while allowing for the growth of responsible home sharing,” he said.
The top Airbnb locations in Maine this summer were Portland, Old Orchard Beach, Bar Harbor, Wells and Ellsworth.
Most guest bookings originated from Boston, New York City, Montreal, Philadelphia and Portland, Maine, the company said.
As of July, there were 12,000 Airbnb listings in Maine with an average daily rate of $111.
Airbnb’s success in Maine over the past few years has helped some bed-and-breakfasts and vacation rentals advertise and sell rooms, but it also has eroded seasonal employee housing, said Steve Hewins, CEO of HospitalityMaine, a trade group for hotels and restaurants.
“The housing issue is intricately tied to the workforce shortage in hospitality for sure,” Hewins said.
Airbnb spending also outpaces receipts at traditional lodging, to the frustration of hotel and inn owners held to stricter health and safety standards, he added.
“It’s not modest; those are gigantic numbers,” Hewins said. “Now picture yourself as a small B&B operator in Maine, who has not seen the same increase, but they feel they are not being held to the same (regulatory) standards.”
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