Hotels

Industry heavyweight urges stronger regulations for commercial Airbnb operators

A hotel industry heavyweight has voiced his concerns about the rise in commercial operators on short-term accommodation providers such as Airbnb.

Tourism Accommodation Australia’s national CEO, Michael Johnson, stressed the need for a “level playing field” at the 2019 Hotel Investment Conference Australia New Zealand Zealand (HICAP ANZ) at the Sofitel Wentworth.

During a panel discussion, alongside Paul Constantinou, executive chairman Quest Apartment Hotels and Jeff Higley, president of BHN Group, Johnson told the audience of industry leaders there was a real need for more regulatory measures on short-term accommodation providers to ensure the industry continued to thrive.

“No one has an issue with genuine home-sharing – mum and dad letting out a spare room, or their house while they are overseas on holiday – what we do have a problem with is the sudden rise of the ‘quasi-hotel’ across our suburbs,” he said.

“Commercial operators should not be able to use online platforms to offer un-hosted properties year-round outside the existing regulatory framework.

“It’s an unfair advantage – according to Inside Airbnb data, nationwide about 55% of all listings in are by commercial operators.”

Johnson said the solution is simple.

“There should be a reporting system which would ensure proper taxes are paid and labour supply issues are resolved,” he said.

“We need regulatory measures to be evenly applied – guaranteeing the safety of guests while also bringing commercial short-term letting operations into line with hotels, motels and serviced apartments.

“We also need a registration system administered by the states to provide information on safety, building use, insurance and the broader impacts of short-term letting.

“We can all work together to grow our great sector – but there has to be a level playing field.”

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