Alternative hospitality in Milan before Expo 2015: where, how and how much?
During the first months of 2015 the Bocconi-Assolombarda Observatory carried out a preliminary study into the phenomenon
The emergence and diffusion of the sharing economy, due especially to the new digital platforms, is encouraging the development of new forms of hospitality. Faced with some segments of demand that seem to appreciate this kind of lodging, traditional hotel and nonhotel accommodation options have the problem of a new form of
competition that, in some cases, appears to feature elements of unfair competition that are also favoured by legislation that is frequently less than clear.
Inspired by this initial inspiration, during the first months of 2015, in the run up to the Universal Exposition in Milan, the Bocconi-Assolombarda Observatory carried out a preliminary study into the phenomenon of alternative hospitality in Milan, such as that provided by establishments other than hotels, in official non-hotel accommodation (guesthouses, holiday houses and apar tments, B&Bs, excluding hostels, holiday homes and campsites) and in private lodgings for rent.
The focus of the study is an attempt to estimate the size and main characteristics of this phenomenon in Milan, a few months before the opening of Expo. To analyse this phenomenon, the investigation considers the list of hotels and offi- cial non-hotel accommodation (guesthouses, holiday houses and apartments, bed & breakfasts, lodgings registered with the REC [ Trade and Commercial Register] and therefore run as a business) provided by the Milan Provincial Authorities and updated to November 2014 and private lodgings “for rent” advertised on the market through the main search portals for short stays.
In 2014, there were 853 lodgings registered in the Municipality of Milan: 53% (455) hotels and 47% (398) non-hotels. If official nonhotel accommodation is considered, there are more holiday houses and lodgings registered with the REC than other accommodation types and they account for 57% of the non-hotel accommodation total (227 out of 398) with 1,399 rooms out of 4,566 (31% of the total) and 2,719 beds out of a total of 8,486 (32%).
Alongside analysis of official figures
available relative to traditional non-hotel accommodation, an ad hoc study was also made out of lodgings offered in Milan on two well-known online platforms, Airbnb (the biggest reference portal for short-stay accommodation) and Booking (one of the main in- ternational online travel agencies). The results of this analysis reveal a reality that does not fully correspond to the picture most people have of this situation. In the centre of Milan, entire apartments are generally rented out (not therefore single rooms in apartments as a form of additional income). Almost 40% of the individuals who rent out one of the properties analysed in Milan rent out at least one more in Milan or elsewhere and the average price level of an overnight stay is decidedly high, reaching levels that are perhaps unexpected for the kind of lodging in question (an average of €126). From a location point of view, the main concentration of rented lodgings in the city centre is to be found in the streets between Corso di Porta Ticinese and Corso Genova, areas where there are fewer hotels.
Considering that to date there is no obligation to register rental contracts lasting less than 30 days, it is difficult to estimate the phenomenon, but adverts at the start of 2015, on the main inter-
national portals for the city of Milan, confirm the large extent of this form of hospitality.
From a point of view of demand, according to the operators interviewed these new forms of hospitality meet the needs of some tourism segments better than traditional hotels. From “low budget” tourists who focus on reducing costs, to “high budget” ones who, on the contrary, look for exclusive, secluded lodgings in the old city centre. From families with children who appreciate the option of a kitchen at their disposal to “long-stay” visitors for whom the choice of an apartment can be a more convenient solution in terms both of cost and practicality, through to those who want to stay in Milan in totally private, secluded surroundings.
For more info about the survey: www.unibocconi.it/met