Vacation Home Rentals fined $3K; Hotels.com says pot has boosted tourism in Seattle, Denver and Portland.
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
A short-term vacation rental company run by TripAdvisor was fined $3,000 by the Portland Revenue Bureau.
Vacation Home Rentals didn’t register to pay transient lodging taxes as its hosts lacked city permits, Willamette Week reports.
According to letters obtained by WW, the Revenue Bureau started sending warning letters to companies in late January and threatened some with fines ranging from $500 to $356,500 beginning in March. Although the agency has yet to actually issue fines—except in the case of Vacation Home Rentals—the companies put on notice include Craigslist, VRBO, Online Vacation Rentals, Rentalo, StayAlfred, FlipKey and TripAdvisor.
The city also sent letters to Airbnb, HomeAway and Vacasa, but hasn’t threatened those companies with fines. Meanwhile, what appear to be large-scale violations by Airbnb continue to stare the city in the face: 94 percent of its hosts haven’t bothered to get permits.
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A Hotels.com study found that the big cities of Colorado, Washington and Oregon saw a bump tourism perhaps because of legalization of marijuana
From the Portland Tribune:
Hotels.com reported that in 2014 Denver saw a 73 percent increase in hotel searches for check-ins during the April 20th weekend, which featured a number of organized marijuana events and music festivals, but also coincided with the Easter holiday. This year, April 20 falls on a Monday, and hotel searches for check-ins during April 17 to 20 have surged again, rising more than 60 percent from a year ago, according to Hotels.com.
Denver also had a surge in popularity last year, becoming the 14th most popular domestic destination for Americans, according to the Hotels.com Hotel Price Index. Colorado in general also saw a 51 percent increase in travel-booking interest last year from a 2013, according to Hotels.com. USA Today reported April 10 that Denver was bracing for another rush of marijuana-related tourism on April 20, thanks in part to the annual Cannabis Cup event hosted by High Times magazine.
The Oregon law doesn’t kick in until July.