FREDERICKSBURG, Texas — More people are using Airbnb to book stays in cities all over the world. However, the short-term rental site is not just for big cities.
Rural counties where there may not be many motel options are seeing a big increase in visitors. Out of the Texas counties seeing a bump, one of the most popular is Gillespie County.
"I pray and thank God every day for this opportunity,” said Patricia Hamilton, who is an Airbnb host in Fredericksburg.
Opening a bed and breakfast has always been a dream of hers.
"I just always envisioned myself in one of the old German homesteads,” she said.
That dream became reality when her husband got a job in Fredericksburg last year and they were able to buy an old German homestead off Highway 290, just about two miles from Fredericksburg. They run Ava Haus Bed and Breakfast.
"It's fun being able to meet new people” said Patricia Hamilton's husband, Tava Hamilton. “I work in an industry that I talk to new people every day and I get to come home and greet people on the weekends and hear about their stories, their life."
Tava said he lists his bed and breakfast on Airbnb for extra income.
"It was a high risk,” said Tava Hamilton. “But it's actually paid off and it's done very well."
Airbnb said it is seeing “explosive” growth in rural Texas counties like Gillespie County, where Fredericksburg sits. State-designated rural counties earned $20.6 million in supplemental income over the last year through the short-term rental site.
The growth rate for Airbnb in rural counties nearly doubles that of urban counties. Tava said people want to get away from city life.
"To catch a break," he said. "It's a lot slower paced here."
He adds most of his clients are from Austin, but the short-term rentals can also help those in need.
"When Harvey hit, we actually had some people who were misplaced,” Tava said. “We had them come and stay with us."
Tava and his wife said Airbnb gives them the opportunity to meet new people and be hospitable.
Source : https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/airbnb-seeing-explosive-growth-in-rural-texas-counties/269-596373130