An informational meeting hosted by the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce quickly became standing-room-only, as curious property owners received a free education on how to make a few extra bucks off the MLB game set to be played at the Field of Dreams later this summer.
Karla Thompson, the executive director of the DACC, called the response to the Airbnb meeting overwhelming, even joking that she hoped there wasn’t a fire marshal at the Comfort Inn’s conference room.
With some estimates ranging as high as 80,000 visitors coming to the greater Dyersville area and hotels within an hour-and-a-half radius being booked since the initial announcement, Thompson said they are hoping to find a way to house all these guests.
One potential solution is to have residents utilize a vacation rental website, like Airbnb, to make rentable-space available for visitors.
Karen Tieskoetter, the owner of ReSpa, said she’s been using Airbnb to rent out the top floor of her business located across from the Basilica for about a year.
Tieskoetter said there are a lot of different companies that facilitate this type of temporary rental, but she chose to go with Airbnb for its ease of use, excellent customer support and global recognition.
“If I can do it, it’s a no-brainer — I’m not a techy person,” Tieskoetter said.
She said while the idea of letting a stranger rent space in your home can be a little unnerving, there are a host of ways to vet potential renters before giving them permission.
“Everything is filtered through (Airbnb) for security reasons,” Tieskoetter said. “They don’t give out phone numbers or addresses until someone has reserved a room.”
Tieskoetter said she set her regular rate at $70 per-night, $14 of which Airbnb keeps as a fee, but for the week MLB is in town, she already has her room booked at $450 per night.
But in order to get someone interested in renting your home, she said it’s very important to upload as many pictures and add as detailed a description of the space as possible to avoid any confusion or disappointment the day of.
“Just be very upfront and clear about what they’re walking into,” Tieskoetter said.
One thing that was repeatedly stressed was to be cognizant that there is a 13% tax that has to be paid on all rental revenue, which breaks down to 6% going to the state, 6% to the hotel/motel tax and 1% to the City of Dyersville.
“If you are going to do this, you have to file to get a tax permit number,” Tieskoetter said
This process is fairly simple, she said, and these permit numbers are free and available through the Iowa tax revenue department.
For those who are interested in renting space but don’t want to go through an app like Airbnb, Thompson said the chamber will post available listings on the chamber’s website.
“We won’t list your number or address on the internet,” Thompson said. “They’ll have to come through us.”
But, even if the rooms are rented using the Chamber as a proxy, the tax still has to be paid, Thompson said.
Tieskoetter added that while Airbnb has its own insurance that covers most damages caused by unruly guests, she still recommends getting additional coverage.
“You need to have liability insurance and all that to make sure you’re in the clear,” Tieskoetter said. “If someone falls down your stairs and gets hurt, you’re going to want back-up policies for that.”