Airbnb has said that it is open to government regulations, after the Australian Hotels Association (ATA) Western Australia said regulation discrepancies needed to be addressed last week.
The AHA’s Western Australia sect would like to see the online players be subject to the same regulations as the licensed short stay sector (such as hotels and bed and breakfasts).
In an interview this week on Perth radio station 6PR, Airbnb’s Australia and New Zealand country manager, Sam McDonagh, supported short stay accommodation being used for genuine home and room sharing.
During the interview, Airbnb said it did not encourage the practice of purchasing an investment property and putting it on Airbnb.
“We do not encourage people to buy an investment property and put it on AirBnB,” McDonagh said.
Last week, the AHA called for Airbnb to be better regulated – in a similar way to hotels and bed and breakfasts.
“Online booking platforms present themselves as providers of ‘shared’ accommodation, yet the majority of properties are for entire homes or apartments and bypass the licensing, taxation and regulatory requirements imposed on traditional accommodation providers,” the association said in a statement.
While this remains unregulated, the AHA claims companies like Airbnb are threatening the viability of traditional accommodation providers who play by the rules and jeopardising employment and training outcomes.
“It has become abundantly clear that ‘sharing’ platforms are simply not what they purport to be and are instead platforms that help some providers bypass the rules and regulations that hotels and B&B’s are expected to abide by,” Woods said.
This week, McDonagh hit back and said the company is encouraging regulation to ensure people aren’t using investment properties as Airbnb’s.
“The regulation we are encouraging, we absolutely believe we want to talk about the sharing economy and people like sharing the homes that they live in and that’s primarily what we do,” he said.
Australian Hotels Association (WA) CEO Bradley Woods said he welcomed McDonagh’s endorsement of regulating Airbnb.
“The AHA welcomes Airbnb comments that they are interested in supporting regulations that encourage genuine home sharing,” Woods said.
“Genuine home sharing is what many of these online platforms originally facilitated however they have clearly morphed into something else entirely and now primarily facilitate the letting of entire apartments and houses to complete directly against regulated, taxpaying bed and breakfast venues and hotels.”
“This is having a detrimental impact on regulated accommodation providers and jeopardising training and employment opportunities in WA. Genuine home sharing is ok and supported by the AHA – the mimicking of hotels is not.”