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Airbnb hosts earn $353,000 on graduation weekend

Airbnb hosts in Oxford earned a record-breaking $353,000 in total income during Ole Miss graduation weekend.

Oxford has more than 175 Airbnb locations, which welcomed in an additional 1,600 guests on May 11. According to a news release from the community-driven hospitality company, this represented the largest one-day surge of guests to Oxford in the history of Airbnb’s platform.

“Our Oxford host community continues to step up and help the city take full economic advantage of major events like commencement and football weekends,” Airbnb representative Ben Breit said. “This also has a secondary impact for local restaurants, shops and other small businesses that benefit when more people are able to stay in the city even when hotels reach full occupancy.”

Graduation weekends are known to fill Oxford hotels to peak capacity, even with higher rates, but home-sharing and rental properties have afforded Oxonians and guests alike the opportunity to maximize lodging options.

It’s beneficial to residents as well – something to which Oxonian and Airbnb host Kaytlin True can attest. True and her husband, Ben, rent out their home periodically throughout the year, typically for Ole Miss football weekends and any other time they’re planning on being out of town.

“This is our second year with Airbnb. We rent it for graduation and for a few football games,” True said. “We’re Mississippi State fans. It works out well for us, because we’re going to be gone to Starkville anyway and people need a place to stay.”

It’s a decision that’s allowed them to pay for season tickets for Mississippi State football, tuxedos and bridesmaid dresses for seven weddings and more. True also said she enjoys the flexibility of Airbnb, because they only have to rent out their home when it’s convenient for them.

“[The record-breaking weekend] doesn’t surprise me at all,” True said. “The people who rented my home for graduation booked it in November. I don’t know if the hotels sold out that quick, but if they did, people need somewhere else to stay.”

In Oxford, Airbnb guests have several options to pick from in terms of lodging, from a single apartment bedroom for $50 to an entire historic home for $1,750 and everything in between.

Additionally, Airbnb collects and remits both the Mississippi state sales tax and local tourism taxes, thanks to a tax agreement with the Mississippi Department of Revenue. This means the surge in guests represented a boost in tax revenue as well, according to the news release.

Airbnb previously reported that Lafayette County hosts earned $2.1 million in income in 2018 while welcoming 13,000 guests.