Level playing field call for Airbnb
Research shows Airbnb accommodation is more “professionalised” in the Margaret River region than anywhere else in the State, prompting calls from traditional operators for legal intervention.
Operators want to see multi-listed Airbnbs meet the same checks and balances required of the wider accommodation sector.
The research was presented last week by Curtin University Asso- ciate Professor Christof Pforr and senior research fellow Dr Michael Volgger, who said 75 per cent of South West listings offered whole homes, compared to 60 per cent in Perth. While fewer than 20 per cent of WA Airbnb hosts offered multiple properties, the figure jumped to 30 per cent in the Margaret River region, straying from the services’s informal roots.
The findings sparked concerns among traditional operators who didn’t mind increased competition, but said hosts should follow industry rules and regulations.
Siesta Park manager Jane Tickle said the new trends were disrespectful to traditional providers who were “always making sure to do the right thing”. “Airbnb used to be just a bed for $80 in a local’s house, and now the whole thing is being blurred,” she said.
Quality Inn Margaret River chief executive Justin Hickman said “professionalisation” should be an all-or-nothing deal. “Turning a property into a business means paying business rates, insurance, ensuring fire regulations are up to check, locks are on all the doors, electricity is up to commercial standards,” he said.
The report recognised the Margaret River region as one of WA’s “hotspots” for Airbnb users.
Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association acting chief executive Steve Harrison said there was agreement among members on the need for “a level playing field for all accommodation providers including those using the Airbnb platform”. He said the key to managing Airbnb’s evolution was effective monitoring and balancing interests.
“MRBTA believes it is important all Government policy-makers and local businesses continue to monitor the impact of Airbnb and find the right balance,” he said. Tell us what you think! Email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.