AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Just east of downtown Amarillo, Penny Clark has set up the Gallery on 7th with three Airbnb rentals right in a row.
"Initially, it was because of the ballpark. I was looking for property downtown and this was for sale,” said Clark, owner and operator of the Gallery on 7th and the Airbnbs. "I got it really cheap, and then I started remodeling it and I was going to have this as a gallery and then rent the apartments but then as it turned out, I saw a better opportunity with the Airbnb."
Clark says the opportunity to have a short-term rental the past year was pleasant and hopes to operate more.
"I'd love to have a couple of more just because it is easy to take care of,” said Clark. “We have guests, generally, that just stay one night."
As the city sees an increase in Airbnbs, it’s also seeing growth in the hotel industry. However, Airbnb representatives say the two industries complement each other. Amarillo’s Convention and Visitor Council also notes the similarities.
"90-something percent of all of our hotels are right along I-40. If you look at a map of where the short-term rentals are, they’re almost everywhere but I-40,” said Dan Quandt, Vice President of the Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council. “They are averaging about 62 percent occupancy which is exactly where we are with the hotels. Their average daily rate is a little higher.”
Quandt says one big difference between the two industries is that area short term rentals are paying the state hotel tax, but not the local hotel tax, which helps fund the council, the civic center, payments for bonds and more.
"I think it won't be too long before we actually see an ordinance before the city council to tax the short term rentals locally so we can make that fair,” said Quandt.
As for this downtown rental, they say the opportunity to bring in any visitors to spend money in Amarillo's economy is a good thing.
“Bringing people into town, can’t beat that,” said Brandon Oliver, General Manager of the Gallery on 7th and the Airbnbs. “People are coming into town, spending their money here and thankfully they’re choosing us.”
Quandt also says the addition of short term rentals and traditional hotels offers more options for visitors to the area, making Amarillo, overall, a more attractive place to stay.