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Quincy sees added income from online travel companies

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QUINCY (WGEM) - Quincy city officials say tourism has taken a hit during the pandemic, but there was one bright spot when it comes to people visiting town.

Officials say in recent years more people are booking stays on third party sites, instead of booking directly with hotels. Now the city is seeing increased revenue from that change.

In 2020, eight third party booking websites began paying a hotel tax directly to the city. Previously those taxes were paid by the hotel or Airbnb owner and were often missed.

A full list of the third-party online travel booking companies include:

  • Airbnb
  • Egencia LLC
  • Hotwire
  • Rocket Travel
  • Travelscape

Even with decreased travel during the pandemic, the city saw a significant bump in tax revenue.

"In 2019 we collected under 2,000 dollars in hotel motel tax from such companies. Last year we collected over 19,000 from those same companies, so it's grown exponentially," said Linda Moore, Quincy city treasurer.

City officials say they expect this tax revenue to increase in 2021 as more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the city is able to host annual events and sports tournaments again.

And people with homes and businesses listed on these third party sites say the sites have helped them bring customers in during a difficult time.

Johnny Moore opened the Gas Lamp Inn in the spring of 2020. He says it has been difficult to open a business during the pandemic, but having the inn listed on Airbnb has helped him to attract visitors who would not have known about the location otherwise.

"The initial bookings I had, people either booked on Airbnb or found my information on Airbnb and reached out directly to book. I think Airbnb caters more to a generation that's familiar with technology and online etc. I think in their 30s, 40s, some in their 20s coming in who are just looking for an interesting accommodation," said Johnny Moore, Gas Lamp Inn manager and owner.

Moore says after seeing success using Airbnb, he's looking to join more third party booking websites in the future to reach even more potential travelers.

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Isabella Rossi

Multimedia Journalist

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