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Hospitality

Wilmington Outpaces Raleigh In Airbnb's Rankings For NC

By Cece Nunn, posted Jan 23, 2018
Owner Natalie David lists her bed and breakfast, The Magnolia House in downtown Wilmington, on Airbnb. (Photo courtesy of Natalie David)
Wilmington outpaced Raleigh in Airbnb host income and guest arrivals in 2017, according to a statewide review released by the hospitality company Tuesday.

Overall, residents of North Carolina made $96.8 million last year by sharing their homes with visitors via Airbnb, the release stated. That's a nearly $46 million increase over 2016.

With $3.9 million in host income and 35,100 guest arrivals in 2017, Wilmington's results were nearly double last year's and the Port City moved up one spot from 2016 to replace Raleigh as No. 3 in the state, behind Asheville (No. 1) and Charlotte (No. 2). Raleigh fell to No. 4 for 2017 with $3.8 million in host income and 32,600 guest arrivals.

In 2016, the Wilmington host income total was $2 million, with 17,000 guest arrivals.

Wilmington's 2017 numbers increased from those reported earlier this month by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal because the last days of December were not included in the previous figures, an Airbnb spokesperson said.

Natalie David, owner of The Magnolia House at 111 N. 15th St. in downtown Wilmington, lists her licensed bed and breakfast facility on Airbnb, and the numbers released Tuesday made sense to her.

"I think Wilmington has been one of the best-kept secrets for a really long time," said David, who first moved to the Port City in 2003. "We're perfectly positioned along the mid-Atlantic; we have amazing weather and history and culture; and we have a lot to offer travelers, so I'm not at all surprised by the numbers. I think it's going to continue to grow, and it really is up to us how we handle that growth as a community." 

In recent years, city officials have been discussing potential changes to rules governing short-term rentals such as those offered on Airbnb.com and other websites, including VRBO.com and HomeAway.com. The city's Planning Commission is set to discuss the matter at a meeting Jan. 29.

The only other new Hanover County community on the Airbnb Top 15 list for North Carolina was Carolina Beach, which ranked No. 11. The town saw $1.9 million in host income and 12,200 guest arrivals last year, up from 6,200 and $985,000 in 2016, according to Airbnb numbers.

“Home sharing through Airbnb continues to  be a unique and flexible way for North Carolina families to make more money, pay their bills, and support their communities,” said Will Burns, public policy director for Airbnb in North Carolina, in a news release Tuesday. “We look forward to 2018 being another successful year of giving  residents in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham, and all corners of the state an economic boost, travelers more affordable accommodations and neighborhood businesses more foot traffic.”

The report said that a total of 778,000 Airbnb guest arrivals occurred across the state last year, and about 11,400 North Carolina families hosted at least one Airbnb guest. The typical host shared their home 47 nights and earned $6,800 in additional income, the release stated.

Sixty-three percent of Airbnb hosts in North Carolina are women, according to the report.

The city with the highest income on Tuesday's list, Asheville, saw a 2017 host income total of nearly $20 million and 160,700 guest arrivals. Charlotte, the city with the second-highest totals, had 73,200 guest arrivals and $8.7 million in host income. 

Numbers previously provided by Airbnb showed that hosts earned at least $11 million region-wide last year, including the host incomes for New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

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