Home sharing company brings income to Wood County residents

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With a small number of hotels in Wood County, the home sharing company Airbnb is providing visitors with a place to stay and some residents with additional income.

Airbnb is a company that allows people to monetize their extra space as somewhat of a hotel; travelers use the service to find local lodging.

According to a recent report by the company, rural Texas Airbnb hosts as a whole have earned a total of $20.6 million supplemental income and welcomed 169,000 guests over the past year. This report took data from 177 counties, which were determined rural by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

From August 2017 to this August, Wood County guest arrivals totaled 2,300 guests and there were 50 active hosts using the service. Guest arrivals increased 143 percent within a year, according to the report.

“The Wood (County) homeowners have earned about $215,000 combined in supplemental income through Airbnb over the past year,” Ben Breit, Airbnb representative, said. “The typical Wood (County) host earns about $2,700 annually.”

He added about half of Airbnb hosts in Wood County are seniors (ages 60 and above), calling it a huge percentage.

George P. Bush, Texas land commissioner, commended Airbnb for its efforts in providing lodging areas for rural Texas.

“I was pleased to visit the Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco recently and meet with their leadership,” Bush said in the Airbnb press release. “I am impressed with their entrepreneurial vision and look forward to finding ways for the Texas General Land Office to leverage their technologies.  As the state officer who oversees 13 million acres of rural Texas land, I am grateful for Airbnb’s commitment to bringing economic opportunity to rural Texas in a new and innovative way.

“In the future, I will be exploring ways to further Airbnb’s involvement with disaster relief. The Texas General Land Office is overseeing the largest recovery program in our nation’s history and we are continuing to explore ways to integrate Airbnb in our short term recovery efforts.”

Two-thirds of Texas hotel rooms and three-fourths of Texas hotel room revenue are mostly in the four metro areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, according to the report.

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