By Hannah Cross
Australian Hotels Association WA CEO, Bradley Woods, claims the poor regulation of short-stay online accommodation is “diseasing the [hotel] industry”.
This is the AHA’s regulation proposal:
- Listings must be hosts’ primary residences only
- Whole property listings must have a 14-day minimum stay
- Properties must comply with hotel industry health and safety
- Properties must be registered, and
- Property owners must pay registration fees.
Woods also says the viability of Australian businesses is threatened by competitors not playing by the same rules.
Airbnb has responded, reportedly saying the company helps working and middle-class families afford holidays and earn some extra money on the side.
Tiffany Alps, an Airbnb “super host” (a term given to Airbnb hosts who receive detailed, rave reviews) says she thinks Woods’ comments are unfair.
“I’m guessing [the Australian Hotels Association] is feeling the bite of Airbnb taking away potential guests.
“Airbnb properties seem to be a lot cheaper for guests than hotel rooms, and guests can choose how much they want to immerse themselves in the local culture,” she says.
Alps believes it’s worth looking into places like the Gold Coast where there’s a high density of Airbnb listings, as there could be issues there with health and safety.
She says even though she’d make more money having long-term tenants at her property, she enjoys hosting and the flexibility of being able to use her property when she needs to.
Hotel industry needs to adapt
Airbnb user, Mitch Bruce, says he understands the need for regulation.
“The main reason that I would see that regulation would be a good thing for the industry would be increasing the safety of the accommodation, both for people using them and for the hosts,” he says.
Bruce, a full-time university student, says he finds accommodation in Australia unaffordable for his budget, so he uses Airbnb.
He sees some truth in Woods’ comments, but thinks the hotel industry should adapt.
“For a superior service [like Airbnb] to come about, it has to be at the cost of something else,” he says.
“So, I think hotels, B&Bs and hostels should take lessons from the Airbnb model and adapt accordingly, just as the taxi industry has to adapt now that uber is so dominant.
“I think it’s just evolution of the industry.”
Ashley Freimond, another student who uses Airbnb, agrees this is a similar situation to the transport industry and uber, and that adapting is part of the solution.
Freimond says she uses Airbnb because it’s usually cheaper and she enjoys having her own space in a more residential location.
“I see how [online short stay accommodation] could affect jobs for people in the hotel business, but I think hotels should make their prices more competitive,” she says.