ORLANDO, Fla.  — Central Florida may be facing a decline in local tourism, according to recent data.

According to AllTheRooms.com which accesses data for short term rentals, Orlando ranks 15th among cities to see the largest revenue collapse in just one year.

The drop in revenue is nearly 35% from May 2022 to May of this year.

What You Need To Know

  • Local tourism in Central Florida is experiencing a slowdown, with Orlando ranking 15th among cities with the largest revenue drop in just one year

  • Airbnb bookings in Orange County have seen a 26% decrease in occupancy in May 2023 compared to the previous year

  • The increasing saturation of the short-term rental market in Central Florida poses a concern for businesses, with competition intensifying and hotel occupancy showing a slight decline

VisitOrlando, a major tourism authority, also reports a decline in Airbnb bookings in Orange County.

Occupancy in May this year was down 26% compared to the previous year. Overall occupancy for this year has also dropped by 10%.

Denise Almeida, who entered the Airbnb business three years ago, currently manages three units within a 600-unit community dedicated to short-term rentals near Disney World.

Despite initially doing well in a competitive market, Almeida has noticed a slowdown, particularly during the typically busy summer season.

“May is when things started to slow down a bit,” she said. “We did think it was just a momentary slowdown, but then as we kept progressing over the months, it didn’t look like things were just slowing down.”

Almeida mentions that in 2022, her units were consistently booked at 90% occupancy each month. However, this year, the average occupancy has dropped to 50-60% and continues to decline.

With thousands of short-term rentals in the area, Almeida said she believes her complex, which offers a resort-like experience, is no longer the newest and most attractive option.

A new resort has also opened across the street, and another similar one is expected to open nearby, increasing the competition.

“They have big houses with individual pools," Almeida said, gesturing toward the pool, lazy river and water slide in her complex. "We are getting another similar resort down the street.”

Local realtor Will LaValle points out that with growing builder confidence in various sectors such as hotels, multifamily properties, and short-term rentals across Central Florida, the market is becoming saturated.

“If the visitors to Central Florida don’t increase along with those numbers, then we are going to see a softening in the market,” Lavalle of ReMax 200 Winter Park explains.

The situation concerns business owners like Denise Almeida.

“It feels like everyone around here is doing Airbnb,” she said. ”That’s how it feels.”

Almeida also mentioned that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when hotels had limited occupancy, her business thrived. However, with everything reopened and increased competition, things have changed.

VisitOrlando reports that hotel occupancy in May 2023 was only 2.5% lower compared to May 2022.