10 Jun 2021

Airbnb says it’s working to consider new approaches to short-term letting and the burgeoning holiday lets sector – and this has been welcomed by a trade body.

Airbnb’s ‘responsible’ approach to short lets welcomed by trade body

Last week Airbnb, which has been criticised by some for its impact on local rental markets, announced it would contribute £5 to local causes for every booking made in Edinburgh during August in an effort to “rebalance tourism.”

It also says it supports the idea of regulation and wants the Scottish Government to consider a mandatory registration system – a way of stemming criticism of short lets in Scotland, where some claim it has diminished the available private letting housing stock. 

Now Merilee Karr, chair of the new UK Short Term Accommodation Association trade body, says: “We welcome Airbnb’s work on future approaches around short-term and holiday rentals and the opportunity for further discussion and engagement on industry registration with any relevant stakeholders.

“The STAA represents a membership managing tens of thousands of UK properties who want to grow the short term and holiday lets sector responsibly and sustainably. 

“The growth of the sector over the last five years is to set to play an important role this year in the recovery as UK staycations become a staple holiday choice for many families, as restrictions on foreign travel appear to be in place for the foreseeable future.

“We think it’s great that one of our member companies and one of the major consumer brands in the sector is conducting stakeholder research and putting forward positions to help find constructive policy solutions to help the industry grow responsibly.”

The STAA says the demand for holiday accommodation in this country is an important source of income for landlord hosts and communities across the country. 

It believes customer preferences have moved towards short term and holiday rentals, where guests are reassured by the high level of cleaning standards and the natural ability to socially distance in their accommodation.

“Data from our members shows that bookings, revenues and occupancy levels are starting to recover towards the levels seen in 2019. The sector now has a chance to rebuild and many of the hosts and operators in the market will have the chance to resume earning much needed income, as will the businesses in the local communities in which they are located” says Karr.

“If the home nations decide to explore registration systems further, established best practice in other European countries point to an industry-wide online system that is simple to use, easy to access and low cost to both administer and register. 

“This will enable homeowners to operate transparently and in line with local policy and legislation without burdensome hurdles to being able to share their homes when they would otherwise be sitting empty.”  

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