Utahns offering their properties through the online lodging service Airbnb earned a total of nearly $37.3 million during the summer, the company reported Friday.
The Beehive state drew some 360,900 Airbnb guest visits between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, with properties in Salt Lake City, Moab, Park City, Hurricane and St. George among the most popular destinations, Airbnb said.
Travelers booking Airbnb stays in Utah were most frequently from Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Provo and Orem, according to the online service.
This summer’s activity was part of a record-breaking number of bookings for the service nationwide, said Airbnb, which is now in its 11th year of operation.
Laura Spanjian, Airbnb senior policy director for Utah, said the privately-owned firm was helping the state boost tourism by expanding its lodging capacity and helping it absorb spikes in visitors during busy travel times.
“The Airbnb community continues generating significant, positive economic impact across Utah,” Spanjian said in a statement. “As we look ahead to fall, we remain committed to working with communities around the state to ensure short-term rentals continue contributing to the Utah economy.”
Airbnb’s report on its 2019 summer activity also comes as Utah communities are struggling with the impact short-term rentals have on residents seeking affordable homes and some tourism-based tax revenues — although an Airbnb representative noted the company collects and remits applicable state and local taxes.
Some cities — including Utah’s capital city — have sought to license short-term rental hosts, with limited success. Moab recently extended a temporary ban on building new structures for short-term rental use while the popular destination catches up with a surge in visitors, now estimated at 3 million yearly.
The city of Sandy, which once forbade short-term rentals, now regulates their numbers by neighborhood.
The Utah Legislature, meanwhile, has barred cities from monitoring short-term rentals online, requiring that enforcement of any licensing requirements instead be driven by complaints from residents.
Airbnb sought in its latest report to counter the idea that its business model was detrimental to local communities.
Its hosts are allowed to keep — and spend — 97 percent of what they charge, the company said, and Airbnb’s surveys suggest large numbers of hosts recommend local eateries and cultural attractions to their guests.
In one company poll, 55% of Airbnb hosts said renting their properties through the service has helped them afford their homes.