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Airbnb stays on LI rise 17.4% during summer season 2019 compared with 2018

Long Island homeowners rented out their properties to

Long Island homeowners rented out their properties to Airbnb guests in rising numbers this summer season. Credit: Bloomberg/Johnny Milano

Almost 100,000 guests stayed at Airbnb Inc. properties on Long Island from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, according to data from the home-sharing service.

The 95,900 patrons represented a year-over-year increase of 17.4 percent, and hosts tallied revenue of $40.9 million, a 17.5 percent increase compared to the $34.8 million recorded in 2018.

"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,” Josh Meltzer, Airbnb's head of Northeast public policy, said in a statement.

The guest arrivals in 2019, however, signaled slower growth in the Long Island market compared to 2018, when Airbnb hosts saw a 38 percent year-over-year increase.

Suffolk County, with its many beaches, vacation homes and the North Fork's wine country, remained the larger magnet for guests in the summer of 2019, with 82,700 staying at Airbnb properties, more than six times Nassau County's 13,200.

The revenue split was even wider, with Suffolk hosts taking in $37.7 million compared to $3.2 million for those in Nassau.

Both counties got a tourism boost in May when the PGA Championship was held at Bethpage State Park's Black Course. 

Kristen Jarnagin, president and chief executive of Discover Long Island, said the Airbnb data align with recently announced record tourism numbers on Long Island and Discover Long Island's marketing campaigns.

"Increased visitors resulting from these strategic initiatives generates tax revenues, local jobs and economic development for the region," she said.

Long Island municipalities have grappled with creating regulations to govern home-sharing companies like Airbnb. For instance, Greenport's board of trustees in October voted to place limits on short-term rentals for single- and two-family homes.

New York City was the top origin city for those visiting Long Island's Airbnb properties, followed by Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

San Francisco-based Airbnb has been rolling out additional features in a bid to attract business travelers, a direct challenge to the traditional lodging business. Its Airbnb at Work service, for instance, provides corporate travel management tools.

 In June, 79 percent of all Long Island hotel rooms were occupied, down from 84.2 percent in June 2018, according to industry researcher STR Global.

Hoteliers argue that Airbnb is not subject to the same regulations as traditional lodgings.

Airbnb has yet to stage an initial public offering despite widespread anticipation and comments by chief executive Brian Chesky that the company will be ready to take the step. In 2017 an investment round valued the company at more than $30 billion.

Airbnb, founded in 2008, has more than 6 million places to stay in more than 100,000 cities worldwide, the company said.

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