Visit Owensboro brings in AirDNA to diversify short-term housing for tourism

Visit Owensboro brings in AirDNA to diversify short-term housing for tourism
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:45 PM CST
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Booking your stay online has become the standard across the world. It’s easier, more efficient, and half the time, you don’t even have to put that much leg work in.

“AirDNA gives us the data to know where we need to place our marketing, who we need to be marketing to, how much we need to be spending on marketing,” said Visit Owensboro Destination Manager Dave Kirk.

Officials in Kentucky also recognized this, and added online options to the transient room tax.

“Usually when someone books a VRBO or Airbnb, there’s just a little fee on there that goes towards booking that,” Kirk said.

Those fees will now see a slight increase in Owensboro, an increase of 4%.

“Every time someone books a hotel room in Owensboro or Daviess County, they have to pay about a 3% tax on top of a couple of other taxes,” Kirk said. “The 3% comes to us.”

The tax was something that counties and cities would adopt in the past for hotels and motels mainly. New Kentucky legislation has added short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO to that list.

“We can now offer a wide variety of lodging options; not just hotels, motels, and camping, but now short-term rentals as well,” Kirk said.

The tax revenue is funneled back into the cities and counties the tourist stays in. There are limitations, however, to how the revenue is used.

“We are going to build a sports plex and a boat dock,” said City of Owensboro Director of Finance and Support Services Angela Waninger. “So those transient room tax revenues can be used for the debt service on those projects.”

Those limitations require the funds gained from the transient tax to only be used for projects related to tourism.

Cities can also get an extra one percent if they have a convention center, which Owensboro does, making the grand total at 4%.

“I think it just opens a door to new opportunity for people to come and discover Owensboro,” Kirk said.

The partnership between marketing company AirDNA and Visit Owensboro will now help the city evaluate how to market these rentals.

They’ll be holding open houses and workshops in the coming weeks to connect with short-term rental owners.

On December 6, AirDNA will offer two in-person workshops. The first workshop is geared toward regional convention and visitor bureaus at the Visit Owensboro offices located at 215 East Second Street at 10:30 a.m.

For the second workshop, Visit Owensboro invites all short-term rental owners to attend an open house and training with AirDNA at 4 p.m. at the CVB office.

Also during the second session, officials from Daviess County will be on hand to provide additional details of the tax remittance process and answer questions.