Airbnb agrees to pay hotel tax in Fayetteville

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 712 views 

Airbnb, a hospitality company that has gained popularity in Arkansas in the past few years, will start contributing to the hotel/restaurant tax in Fayetteville, starting Feb. 1.

Per an agreement with the city, Airbnb will start collecting from its guests a 2% tax that is required for restaurants, hotels and motels and will then remit those collections to the city of Fayetteville.

Airbnb in the past year has entered into similar arrangements to pay local taxes in Bentonville, Eureka Springs and Hot Springs, and began collecting the 6.5% Arkansas Gross Receipts Tax, the 2% state tourism tax and local sales and use taxes from its hosts. At last count, Airbnb has tax agreements with 340 jurisdictions around the world, according to the company.

“The Airbnb community wants to pay its fair share of taxes and we are excited to partner with the city of Fayetteville  to make the process easier for our hosts,” Laura Spanjian, Airbnb public policy director, said in a press release. “Our community is always excited to share their favorite neighborhood spots in the region with travelers, who are looking to experience the area like locals do. We look forward to partnering with the city to bring even more visitors to Fayetteville.”

Fayetteville was the most popular city in the state for Airbnb in 2017, with 12,000 guest arrivals. The typical host in the city earns $3,800 a year through Airbnb.

Fayetteville also was the most popular for Airbnb in 2016, when the city had 7,500 guest arrivals, and hosts earned about $907,000, according to the company. Little Rock hosts welcomed more than 4,100 guest arrivals and earned $456,200 that year, while Hot Springs hosts welcomed nearly 3,400 guest arrivals and earned $362,900.

In 2016, about 900 Airbnb hosts in Arkansas earned a collective $4 million. With 34,000 guest stays, the state’s Airbnb use grew 249% from 2015, according to the company. The number of hosts grew 104% statewide.

“We’re so pleased to collaborate with Airbnb,” Molly Rawn, executive director of the city’s visitors bureau, Experience Fayetteville, said in the release. “With them following the same practices as our other Fayetteville lodging, we’re excited about having additional options that our visitors can experience while they’re in the area.”

To date, there have been more than 260 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings around the globe since its founding in 2008, according to the company. There are more than 4 million listings in 65,000 cities and more than 191 countries.

Hotel industry leaders have called for Airbnb to be held to the same standards as hotels and motels, from tax payment to safety regulations.