BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota is seeing a rise in the use of Airbnb, an online service that connects people offering private homes or rooms to renters looking for short-term stays.

The state’s guest arrivals on the service increased by 158 percent from 2016 to 2017, with most activity seen in Fargo and Bismarck. The state saw nearly 6,700 Airbnb guests last year, according to company data.

Bismarck couple Leah and Nick Walker told the Bismarck Tribune they started offering their home for rent on Airbnb in May.

Leah Walker said many of their visitors choose Airbnb over hotels because it’s less expensive and has more amenities, including larger bathrooms and a kitchen. She said they’ve received several vegan and vegetarian visitors who prefer having a kitchen to cook meals.

“As a family, we know we can make our own travel dollar go further if we can make a meal rather than eating out all the time,” Leah Walker said.

The Walkers offer produce from their garden and invite guests to share meals in the summertime.

“Many are artists and entrepreneurs, and we like to hear about their adventures,” said Leah Walker.

North Dakota’s Airbnb hosts made nearly $670,000 in supplemental income last year. About 16 percent of North Dakota hosts are 60 years or older and 52 percent are women.

Airbnb spokeswoman Jasmine Mora said that many hosts rely on the side income provided through the service.

“For a lot of people, this income that they’re earning is money they use to pay the mortgage, to pay the bills, sometimes to take a family vacation,” Mora said.

Information from: Bismarck Tribune,

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