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Baseball has been very, very good to Airbnb

in Apolitical by

Apparently there’s nothing like a home-away-from-home for baseball fans wanting to take in Florida spring training.

Airbnb, the leader in marketing vacation rental home, announced Wednesday that all 12 Florida cities that host spring training camps and stadiums for Major League Baseball teams saw remarkable spikes in bookings during the baseball spring training that ended last week.

And the company’s surveys show most of that spike was due to baseball fans, coming down to catch a few spring training games and to watch big-league players and prospects work out and train.

All the cities saw significant increases in Airbnb vacation home rental bookings during the five-week spring training, Feb. 23-March 31, compared with the previous five weeks.

Smaller cities such as Jupiter (64 percent Airbnb spike), Lakeland (82 percent), Port St. Lucie (95 percent), Dunedin (205 percent) and Port Charlotte (78 percent all benefitted significantly from local Airbnb hosts helping to expand lodging capacity and welcome more visitors during spring training, the company claimed in a press release.

Yet bigger cities with large, year-round tourist industries such as Sarasota and Kissimmee also saw considerable spikes, the company noted. Sarasota’s Airbnb bookings were up 91 percent, and Kissimmee’s 46 percent.

In 10 of the 12 Florida cities, residents of the MLB team’s home state accounted for the top supply of Airbnb guests during spring training. For example, Dunedin, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, saw a 1,860 percent increase in guests from Ontario, Canada, while Jupiter, home to the St. Louis Cardinals, saw a 3,400 percent increase in guests from Missouri.

“Spring Training represents a foundational component of the local economies for these 12 Florida cities,” Tom Martinelli, public policy director for Airbnb Florida, stated in the release. “By expanding lodging capacity for regions with limited hotel inventory, Airbnb hosts helped welcome more families and baseball fans to their cities while serving as ambassadors for their local communities.”

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Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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