Colliers calls hotel trade to hit back over Airbnb’s ‘unlevel playing field’

The latest research concerning the rise of Airbnb “must galvanise traditional hoteliers to fight back against the unfair advantage” whereby the new “disruptors” do not pay business rates according to Colliers International.  

Recent figures from Colliers International and Hotelschool in The Hague have shown that nights booked with Airbnb in London rose by 45% in 2017. This amounts to 6.7 million overnight stays, compared with 4.62 million in 2016 and just over 2 million in 2015. By contrast hotel stays only grew 4.6% (91 million).

Colliers said the rise in volume of Airbnb lettings should therefore be seen as a “material change” to the hotel industry and hotel owners in areas where Airbnb has a strong presence, who should use this factor to appeal their business rates valuations.

The Valuation Office Agency, which undertakes business rates appeals, normally looks favourably on businesses that can show a “material change in their circumstances” and by definition Colliers believes hotels in areas where Airbnb is strong and growing should be included in this policy.

Colliers also found that in 2017, around 62% of Airbnb listings were offered by hosts with more than one listing, up from 54 % the year before and 48% in 2015. Over 45% of units in London were provided by multi-listers and the percentage of landlords with more than 10 properties listed in London rose to 23%, an increase of 8.4% since the previous year.

Colin Hall, head of London hotels for Colliers International, said: “This rapid growth in multi-listed landlords demonstrates the changing profile of Airbnb from what was originally a platform for individuals to let out their own homes, to a profitable commercial venture.

Now more than ever, regulation is needed to manage this growing platform to ensure a fair playing field for hoteliers and landlords alike.

“We would argue that the advance of Airbnb rooms let in close proximity is a ‘material change’ and hotel operators should appeal their rateable value and hence their rates bill, before they take a financial turn for the worse, which would affect both profits and jobs in the trade.”

John Webber, head of rating, added: “Something must be done to make things a more level playing field and hoteliers need to fight back to get their rating bills and hence their costs under control. It would be disastrous for the industry if they followed the fate of many retailers in the current bloodbath of administrations and CVAs.”

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