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Rural Areas Drive Airbnb Growth In Missouri

Airbnb said it saw the strongest growth in rural areas of Missouri, such as the listing for Old Bass Lodge on Stockton Lake.

Airbnb hosts brought in more than $48 million in 2018, a 67% increase over the previous year. The company notes rural areas had particularly strong growth.

Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit said hosts welcomed 480,000 guests and earned an average of $5,500 a year. 

While the company grew in large cities, Breit said the strongest growth was in smaller towns.

He pointed to places like Barry County in southwest Missouri, which saw more than 2,000 Airbnb guests last year. 

“Counties that may not have any hotels whatsoever that may have been afterthoughts when it comes to tourists and visitors.”

The state of Missouri will earn millions more in taxes through an agreement that allows Airbnb to collect and remit state and local sales taxes.

“By Airbnb receiving that authorization, it made sure the local hosts didn’t have to worry about it anymore and the Missouri Department of Revenue is going to be benefitting from a whole lot of new revenue,” Breit said.

Breit said that is just one change that eliminates confusion for hosts.

Kansas City, Missouri, passed new regulations on short-term rentals last year, which Breit said the company supported.

“Hosts want regulation because no one wants to be playing a guessing game and not being sure if what you’re doing is allowable,” Breit said.

In Kansas, which is a smaller market, hosts earned $7.6 million.

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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