Online hospitality service Airbnb celebrates its tenth anniversary this month – and concern is growing at the impact the service is having on hospitality businesses in the West.
Ed Jefferson from Colliers International’s hotels team said: “There is an old saying that every Englishman’s home is his castle – but these days it’s more likely being used as a hotel.
“Airbnb is already having a significant impact in visitor hotspots like Bath, where Bed & Breakfast operators have taken a significant hit from people who are simply opening up their homes to paying visitors.”
In Bristol, the Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA) has lobbied the city council calling for an investigation into the number of rooms being offered via Airbnb – said to be close to 2,000 properties.
Ed Jefferson continued: “Hospitality owners have rightly raised concern over the lack of checks on people who use Airbnb to rent out spare rooms - without having to pay the business rates full-time operators are subject to.
“One owner reported there were hundreds of bed spaces already available through the service in Bath. In addition, a number of new hotels, including budget brands, are being built which will add more pressure on the Bath B&B operators.
Ed Jefferson continued: “As Airbnb approaches it’s 10th anniversary, this lack of regulation becomes a greater concern. The parallels with Uber are clear.
“Some cities have already tightened legislation on people looking to open up their homes to Airbnb guests and operators are calling for similar checks to be introduced here.
“Hoteliers see themselves competing on an uneven playing field. They have to charge VAT, they have business rates, they have rigorous fire and safety standards to meet and they pay all of their staff through the books.
“There is a belief that Airbnb suppliers pay none or very few of these charges.”
Recently-released research from Colliers International and Hotelschool The Hague has revealed that the number of landlords with more than 10 Airbnb accommodations listed in London has risen by 8.4% year-on-year, with over 45% of units in London in 2017 being provided by multi-listers (those with three or more properties) and the percentage of landlords with more than 10 properties listed in London rising to 23%, an increase of 8.4% since the previous year.
Damian Harrington, Head of EMEA Research, Colliers International concludes: “Airbnb continues to go from strength to strength with its market share steadily increasing from 5.0% to 6.9% between 2016 and 2017.”