How many tourist rooms does Perth have? well alot more now as AirBnB arrivesDecember 16th, 2015 | | Accommodation
It is a simple question, but one which is becoming increasingly difficult to answer as travellers embrace home-sharing services like Airbnb: how many tourist rooms does Perth have? Just four years ago in the heat of the mining boom, the answer from the tourism industry and travellers was “not enough”. Prompting the WA Government to launch a tourism strategy which set a target of 1,900 new Perth hotel rooms by 2020, based on modelling by AEC Consulting. But a surge in investment in hotel developments means they are going to hit this target three years early and exceed it by more than 700 rooms by 2018.
These figures do not include developments outside of the CBD, such as Fremantle, where the Hilton group is planning to build a DoubleTree hotel. New statistics from Tourism WA showed that central Perth would have an extra 2,699 hotels rooms by the end of 2018, including two government-supported projects, the 450-room Avani hotel and serviced apartments at Perth City Link and the 240-room Ritz-Carlton hotel at Elizabeth Quay. They come at a time when the hotel industry is facing competition from online accommodation options, like Airbnb, Stayz and HomeAway, where locals rent out their properties to tourists.
But it is difficult to gauge the scope of this competition because no-one really knows how many tourist rooms Perth has. An Airbnb spokesman claimed that the company had doubled its Perth listings to 4,000 over the last year, a figure which would make it Perth’s biggest single source of tourist rooms. But a random search on Airbnb for a two-night stay in Perth from Friday, June 17, 2016 to Sunday, June 19, 2016 returned 84 rental options. A search for the same period on Stayz, which claims to have 960 properties in Perth (a definition stretching from Rockingham to Yanchep), found 410 available properties. Flipkey claimed to have 179 properties on these nights.
Complicating the equation, some hotels – such as the Mantra on Hay – advertise their rooms on holiday home rental sites like Stayz, while other operators list on multiple websites, such as a Leederville property which was advertised on both HomeAway and Stayz. To get a better idea of the size of the competition, Tourism Accommodation Australia is calling for the compulsory registration of all Airbnb properties. The accommodation arm of the Australian Hotels Association not only wants registration so there are accurate statistics on the number of properties, but also so Airbnb is captured by the same regulatory and taxation net as its members, including hotels and serviced apartments.
The call for increased scrutiny is not the only difficulty facing Airbnb. Guy Cranswick, an analyst at IBRS, said that the weakening Western Australian economy might hurt Airbnb operators.He warned that while Airbnb services performed well in an inflationary market, they could struggle if faced with falling house prices and cheaper hotel rooms due to increased supply. “With the headwinds Perth is facing, overall prices in the Perth market will fall,” he said. “Airbnb could get squeezed.”
Perth Airbnb host Phil, who wants to remain anonymous because he has not registered with his local council, agrees that he is in competition with hotels. He has rented out his granny flat from his inner-city property since 2012, when visitors to Perth “couldn’t get a room at short notice and did not want to pay $200 for what was pretty much a cardboard box”.
His flat was popular when he charged $70 a night, but it received little interest after he increased it to more than $95. Broome resident Trish Pepper, who is renting her West Perth apartment to German students for $175 a night, has not registered any of her four properties with local government authorities, but dismissed criticisms that Airbnb operators were avoiding paying tax. “It is 100 per cent traceable. The payments go straight into your account,” she said. “A lot of my expenses I can claim as a tax deduction.”
Sourced by Mike Barrow