Do thriving hotels prove short lets are no threat?

A report highlighting the health of Australia’s innovative hotel sector is proof the short-let industry is having no negative impact, according to Airbnb.

The report, commissioned by Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) and titled The Innovation Revolution Transforming Australia’s Hotel Industry, documents how innovative hotel brands are effecting a dramatic expansion and transformation of the nation’s hotel industry.

Julian Crowley, public affairs manager for Airbnb Australasia, has accused TAA of “speaking with a forked tongue” on Airbnb’s impact, saying the report is “undercutting their own arguments that Airbnb has negatively impacted hotels performance and investment”.

The report states: “In the past three years Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra, Gold Coast and Melbourne have experienced an unprecedented new wave of hotel openings, and – along with Sydney – will see the development phase peak over the next three years.”

It highlights the opening of 40 new hotels in the past three years and more than 200 new or upgraded hotels scheduled for opening by 2025.

Mr Crowley said: “This report reinforces our argument that tourism is not a zero-sum game. Airbnb is growing alongside – not at the expense of – hotels.

“The fact is hotels are healthy and their future is as bright as ever. The TAA should stop speaking with a forked tongue on how the industry is performing.”

TAA chief executive Carol Giuseppi said Mr Crowley had missed the point of the report, which highlights the level of radical change involved in a sector Airbnb has painted as old fashioned alongside the short-let phenomenon.

She said: “The intent of the report is to showcase the ‘innovation’ that is occurring in the hotel industry and the role the regulated accommodation sector is having in activating precincts and adding to the infrastructure of cities.

“The report does not reference the current performance of the industry, but it is fair to say that industry performance is impacted by the ‘unlevel playing field’ that exists. 

“Our significant advocacy in this area has clearly demonstrated the impacts.”

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