How do you pay for your stay at the hottest, most luxurious hotels in Tampa?
It’s a tough question, and one that could prove tricky if the Tampa Bay area is to see an influx of new hotel construction.
But there are a few ways to get around the city’s hotel tax, which has a flat rate of $25 per night, and some of them may pay for themselves if you can find a place that can accommodate a guest who needs to stay at one of the city-owned properties.
The Tampa Bay Times spoke with four people who have been using Airbnb, and they offer tips on how to get a hotel room without paying for room and board.
For the uninitiated, Airbnb hosts pay a flat fee to stay in a property that matches the Airbnb price, and the rate is then deducted from the property’s hotel room rate.
The rate is set by the city of Tampa, but the amount varies depending on whether the properties have a hotel or not.
The four Tampa hotel owners told Newsweek that the rates they get are competitive with hotel rates elsewhere in the state, but they also said they had to do their due diligence.
The hotel owners, who asked Newsweek not to use their real names for fear of retribution, have two properties in the city and two in the county, each with a suite.
“It’s hard to find the right place because the prices are so competitive,” said one of them, who has two properties.
“If you want to stay somewhere else, you have to look around.”
If you are interested in staying at a property and can prove it is not a hotel, you can rent the room at a flat-rate, which is a rate that doesn’t vary from one property to another.
For example, a two-bedroom apartment in the Tampa area that rents for $200 a night could cost you $250 in the Airbnb rate.
“The most affordable hotels are not in the downtown area,” said Joe Krieger, executive director of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, which represents hotel owners.
“There are lots of great hotels in the area, but most of them are not owned by Tampa Bay.”
The four hotel owners were willing to let Newsweek publish a few of their tips.
“When you are looking for a hotel in the market, look for properties that have a pool and a spa, so you can have some fun and relax in the pool,” said Robert H. Gagnon, a Tampa-based real estate agent.
“It can also be a great place for people who don’t like the city to come.
If you have a place where you can sit outside, have some barbecue, or go out and have a picnic, that’s the best way to stay.”
The owners said they were willing and able to find a hotel that met the criteria if they had an agent.
“I’m not a landlord, so I don’t know the regulations,” said David Pimentel, president of The Property Group.
“But I would love to find someone that could help me find a great hotel that would be affordable to us.”
The Tampa Times contacted the Tampa Regional Development Authority for comment, but no one could be reached for comment.
The hotels are the only ones in the country with a pool, spa, or other amenities, and their rates are usually cheaper than the average hotel room, said one Tampa hotelier.
“You need a pool or a pool room if you are going to be at the Tampa Convention Center or other venues,” said the owner, who requested anonymity because he does not want to lose business.
“In the city, you want something with a private pool.”
But the owner also said he does have to find other places to stay.
“You can be in Tampa for a day or two and then you can get a job in Tampa,” said Gagnons, who said he could find a good spot for a two bedroom, two bathroom suite in the St. Petersburg area for $700 a night.
“Or you can stay at another place for a couple of nights.”
The Times has contacted both the Tampa hotels and the city for comment and will update this story if we hear back.