Vacation home rentals websites like Airbnb continue to be a vexing problem for hotel owners, owner of the Sandpiper Inn Dr. Larry Carroll said yesterday, adding that it is a problem that those in the hotel industry are trying to address.
Carroll, who will be a speaker at the Abaco Business Outlook next Thursday and who was speaking at a press conference for the outlook yesterday, explained that the problem lies with second home owners who utilize multiple private home properties for the online booking site, operating almost as a hotel.
He explained, however, that while hotels are subject to stringent inspections and hefty costs in order to operate, vacation home rentals are not.
Carroll said he appreciates that Bahamians are able to make extra money through websites like Airbnb and Homeaway, but he contends that the playing field for those platforms and hotels should be leveled.
“The good side of that Airbnb issue is that we can get some income on the side,” he said.
“However if you extrapolate that out to the max, where foreign second home owners are building four and five and six homes in a settlement and then they set them up as an Airbnb or a vacation home rental and all they do is carry on business online or in the country where they live… if (that) guy has four, four-bedroom homes, that’s 16 rooms. I have a seven-bedroom boutique hotel, he has already outclassed me by 100 percent. Then he has no staff and doesn’t have to go through any inspections or certifications, there is no necessity for insurance, fire inspections, etc.
“All of these things go totally untouched, yet my seven-bedroom boutique hotel has to meet the fire code, has to meet the health code, has to pay all the extra ‘blah blah blah’.”
Carroll said all around the world Airbnb is at the top of the list of problems that have to be solved for the hotel industry.