The short-term rental industry is growing by the day and with growth comes changes. Though, as some of the following stories show if you are working in this industry, there is barely a moment to rest (unless you are a guest of course).
Therefore, to save hosts time, we have kept an ear to the ground so that hosts can hit the ground running. Now hosts simply have to read one article that has summarised the short-term rental news to stay up to date with regards to the latest developments in the industry. We hope you will benefit from reading our monthly digest. So, let’s review the major short-term rental news in March!
Airbnb has signed an agreement to acquire HotelTonight, a US-based startup offering a hotel-booking service concentrating on independent and boutique hotels. The following comment made by Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and CEO, sheds some light on possible future developments, “Working with the incredible team at HotelTonight, we will offer guests an unparalleled last-minute travel experience that provides unique, memorable hospitality on every trip, on any schedule, at any time.”
So what are the possible benefits of this move for Airbnb hosts? When Airbnb introduced boutique hotels to their platform, new guests started using Airbnb and as a result, the Airbnb community grew. According to stats on the Airbnb Press Room, the vast majority of guests who first booked hotel accommodation via Airbnb used Airbnb to book a home instead when they used Airbnb the second time.
The vision is that with the help of HotelTonight, Airbnb will be able to provide more accommodation that will suit different types of guests. With their help, Airbnb hopes to fast track their plan to build an end-to-end travel platform which will cater to the needs of every travel faster.
After acquiring HotelTonight earlier in March, Airbnb is not quite done yet. There are talks that Airbnb is also looking into branching out its business in China and India by making a deal with OYO, an Indian startup in the hotel management industry.
This interest in OYO (and HotelTonight) could suggest that Airbnb is taking more interest in attracting business travelers. Currently, Airbnb does not have a strong presence in China and India yet making this possible acquisition even more interesting.
If you are an owner of short-term rental in New Jersey, business has become a bit more taxing. The state of New Jersey has implemented a surcharge on any rental that is shorter than 90 days. This new tax is to levy so-called “transient accommodation” specifically that Airbnb and similar vacation rental listings on websites like HomeAway and VRBO are typically categorized as.
While the state of New Jersey opted not to axe tax, the city of Santa Monica also zoomed in on short-term rentals. According to law applicable to Santa Monica, businesses can be held responsible for illegal rentals. Airbnb and HomeAway took to the courts to do away with this law arguing that this municipal by-law prevented them from operating. They argued that in the event that the by-law remained in place, they would have to keep tabs on the listings and remove the listing of any unregistered residence.
Alas, these two leading rental platforms were unsuccessful. There is now the fear that other municipalities will follow suit by putting in place similar by-laws.
The short-term rental industry is not in a state of panic in all the states. In Vermont, Brattleboro is getting ready to host Vermont’s very first summit which will concentrate on the short-term rental industry in the month of May. At this summit, hosts will be able to enjoy the chance to learn and connect with industry experts and fellow hosts. The summit’s organizer, Lisa Ford, explained, “This summit will be the first opportunity for hosts to learn about safety standards.”
In addition to learning valuable practical safety tips from experts and hosts, sessions about regulations and policies will also form part of the lineup. The two-day summit will kick off on 19 May 2019 with Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar and a sharing economy advocate, who will be the keynote speaker.
CertiStay has announced that they will begin to audit short-term rental properties. The leader in safety and security certification for short-term rentals will give short-term rental owners the chance to show that they do take the security and safety of their guests seriously by getting their short-term rentals certified.
What is more, it can help owners to reduce security and safety concerns as well as restrict their liability. As a matter of fact, guests and the wider community will benefit as well as Wolf Wörster the chief marketing officer of CertiStay explains, “Guests can sleep well at night knowing that their accommodation is safe and secure; owners limit their liability while treating their guests to the same level of safety they expect themselves, and communities win by providing a safer tourism destination.”
The month of March kicked off on a high note when International Women’s Day was celebrated on the 8th with the theme: “#BalanceforBetter”. According to the IWD2019 website, one way to create a more balanced world is to celebrate the achievements of women.
Which better way to do this than by highlighting what female hosts have achieved in this competitive industry already? According to stats shared by the Airbnb Press Room, more than 50% of Airbnb hosts are in fact female. What is perhaps even more impressive is that in countries such as Pakistan and Paraguay the number of female Airbnb hosts had doubled from 2017 to 2018. So whoever said that a woman’s place is in the home probably meant to say Airbnb homes…