PE Hospitality Industry feels AirBnB sting

By
Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism feels AirBnB sting as it is threatening the viability of conventional lodging providers such as hotels and could lead to job losses Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism feels AirBnB sting as it is threatening the viability of conventional lodging providers such as hotels and could lead to job losses

The idea behind Airbnb started off simply enough. Those with a spare room could rent it out for a night or two and earn some extra cash. But now the online platform is threatening the viability of conventional lodging providers such as hotels and guest houses.

Within 10 years, Airbnb — a privately held company established in San Francisco in the US, has rapidly expanded globally, posing a threat to conventional lodging providers.

It can be accessed through either its websites or mobile applications. Airbnb, which gives travellers affordable accommodation options, has come under scrutiny in other parts of the world, with several countries introducing stricter regulations for the company.

It has expanded into a worldwide domination of accommodation providers offering up ensuite rooms, granny flats or even whole houses.

Airbnb has followed in the footsteps of the likes of Uber - taking something that already exists and simplifying it.

Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism is recording a marked decrease, in the number of bookings from holiday makers.

And a local business forum says there's been a 20 percent drop in occupancies at hotels and guest houses, compared to this time last year.

For years hotels and guesthouses have been packed to capacity, but no longer. It seems the lucrative AirBnB business is taking over.

It's prompting tourism authorities to call for regulation, mirroring steps taken in many European cities.

The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) has called on the tourism minister to urgently finalise the legislative framework surrounding regulating Airbnb.

“We are aware that there are changes in the pipeline with regard to the legislation to have Airbnb regulated, and we would have liked for it to be wrapped up before the end of the year,” said Fedhasa chairperson Jeff Rosenberg.

He said they had no problem with the sharing economy and fully supported collaborating on all industry matters.

“Current and existing regulations that are applicable to the hospitality sector should also apply to Airbnb. This would include rates and taxes, third party insurance cover, hygiene audits, fire regulations and security,” Rosenberg said.

He said Fedhasa, in conjunction with SA Tourism, the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and others, had been lobbying authorities to make the regulations applicable to all.

Fedhasa would be meeting with Airbnb again early next month to discuss matters of mutual interest.

The TBCSA said Airbnb was threatening the viability of conventional lodging providers such as hotels, and could lead to job losses,

“It’s a very competitive field and if traditional hotels and B&Bs compete with Airbnb but they are not competing fairly...

“What we’ve been calling for is for them to be regulated so that everyone can be fairly treated,” said TBCSA chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa.

Read more on:

Hotels and Leisure  |  Port Elizabeth Property Market  |  Tourism Business Council of South Africa  |  Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa  |  Jeff Rosenberg  |  AirBnB  |  Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa