Won’t You Stay With Me
- Written by
- Dee Ellwood
Is Airbnb Really All We Need?
Nowadays, the word Airbnb is no stranger to our speak – or our homes. In 2017 alone, 578,000 stays were booked with the home stay platform, and hosts accommodated 1.4millions guests, in over 1.5million towns, according to Deloitte’s Access Economics report. Regardless of your accommodation stance – hotel advocate or bed and breakfast aficionado – New Zealand’s growing trend in home stay sharing is hard to ignore. Stats NZ’s 2019 report – Accommodation and the sharing economy in New Zealand – found home sharing accounted for more than 8.8 million guest nights or 18 percent of total guest nights in 2018 – an 8 percent increase since 2013.
With home sharing now accounting for one in five guests across the country, and significantly contributing to the economy – contribution to gross output weighed in at NZ$300 million in 2018 – what does this mean for our commercial industry? Has the accommodation clock well and truly swung in favour of Airbnb enthusiasts or is there still a piece of the pie to share around?
Sharing is caring
In the Coastal Bay of Plenty, market share is still very much shared – and that’s important, says Kath Low, head of destination marketing, Tourism Bay of Plenty.
“Both commercial and private accommodation play important roles in our visitor economy as different markets have different preferences.”
To determine future-forward outcomes, last year Tourism Bay of Plenty commissioned tourism data specialists Fresh Info to research commercial and unmeasured (private) accommodation in the Coastal Bay of Plenty.
“In accordance with the Fresh Info research forecasts, in 2025 the Coastal Bay of Plenty will host around 1.8 visitor nights in commercial accommodation and 6.3 visitor nights in unmeasured (private) accommodation, increases of 16% and 14% respectively – both will still have a place.”
It’s not all black and white
Although Airbnb may be the word on the street, but when it comes to monitoring just how much of an impact it’s had – or having – on the accommodation market, particularly in the Taupo region, there’s no clear-cut answer. It may even be a lot less than what many people assume.
“Many of the homes listed on Airbnb were previously promoted through other short-term holiday rental platforms like Bookabach or HolidayHomes.com,” explains Enterprise Great Lake Taupo general manager, Kylie Hawker-Green. “Therefore, it’s challenging for us to get a handle on what is genuinely new property listings versus people listing their properties on multiple platforms.”
And whilst Enterprise Great Lake Taupo continually monitor trends in short-term holiday rental activity across the district, these aren’t always indicative of long-term outcomes – things can quickly change and turn, Kylie points out.
“Taupo district has seen a significant increase in listings on the Airbnb platform over the past two years. However, the listings across the Taupo district have now tapered off and there are approximately 200 less properties listed now than at the peak of January 2019.”
What we can ascertain from the trend monitoring of now, is that short-term rentals are essential in a district like Taupo, says Kylie.
“With seasonality spikes and peak event demands – i.e. 2020’s IRONMAN New Zealand triathlon – requiring more accommodation than what is available through the traditional formats like motels and backpackers.”
Take flight but stay grounded
For those of us hoping to jump onboard the seasonal gravy train this summer and offer up our homes, baches or apartments for a little extra dough. Airbnb maybe ripe for the picking but it still pays to do your homework and be prepared to put a little effort in.
“There are a few features that are attractive to Airbnb – you can call support 24/7, they handle all payments on your behalf, you can request all guests are verified with government issued ID and you are also covered by their insurance,” says Taupo Airbnb host, Matt Lee.
“However, despite Airbnb providing insurance cover up to a certain amount, I also got coverage through Malcolm Flowers Insurances – and had no issues getting cover with them – because having insurance based here in New Zealand just felt safer.”
And whist Matt has enjoyed mostly positive Airbnb hosting experiences, he remains undecided as to whether renting out his self-contained apartment will be a long-term venture.
“I signed up last year and I think I’ll continue to host beyond two to three years – but I have no planned end date at this stage,” he says.
“I think keeping the price point above a particular level tends to attract good guests, and as a ‘one off’ it is a good money making opportunity, but in my experience if you want to do it long-term be prepared to put in time, effort and money to create a product people want and enjoy. Don’t expect a walk in the park – it takes ongoing administration, planning and execution.”