Operators call for controls on ''quasi hotels''
The ongoing battle between traditional hotel owners and operators and quasi-hotels, such as Airbnb, is reaching new heights, with traditional operators calling for tighter controls of the sector.
According to tourism numbers, the new entrants are springing up across the metropolitan areas with listings on Airbnb in Sydney up 42 per cent in a year, and a top handful of “hosts” offering hundreds of active listings in their names.
The data is similar in Melbourne with total listings, according to TAA figures, rising 47.7 per cent since April 2016.
Tourism Accommodation Australia chief executive Carol Giuseppi said the rapid conversion of residential properties into commercial tourist accommodation without any transparency or controls needed to be addressed immediately.
“Starting with recognising that renting out a premises for more than 90 days is actually a commercial enterprise, to cracking down on multiple listings and introducing some regulatory control to ensure transparency,'' Ms Giuseppi said.
“More than 11,000 properties across metropolitan Sydney now fall into this category on Airbnb – that’s a third of their listings,” Ms Giuseppi said.
''Far from being just a place where ‘mum and dad’ operators can rent out a room or their house for a few days, this part of the economy is morphing into actual commercial operations which compete directly with existing hotels, costing jobs and affecting investment in one of the most vital sectors of the economy,'' Ms Giuseppe said.
“For example, one host has a mammoth 252 active listings across Sydney with total earnings of more than $3.8 million, another has 182 active listings with earnings of more than $2.1 millon annually.
Ms Giuseppi said the TAA welcomed genuine sharing and hosted accommodation in people’s homes, but had an issue with "instant hotels" and residential properties being rented out for short term commercial use.
One of the main concerns was that the unregulated providers were not subject to the same building standards and codes as hotels, which include fire control, disability access or commercial insurance premiums, she said