'Unfair' blast at Airbnb site

Clare Smith
Clare Smith
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Blackpool’s hotel leader has hit out at online holiday lettings platform airbnb, accusing it of unfairly competing with the resort’s regular tourist accommodation providers.

Claire Smith, president of StayBlackpool, today warned: “For every back room that is let out, they are taking trade away from a proper business operator.”

Airbnb enables people to rent out rooms in their own home to potential visitors and holidaymakers.

A total of 112 rentals are listed for Blackpool.

Mrs Smith said: “People think getting accommodation through airbnb sounds good, but is someone who is renting out their back room going to have health and safety checks, insurance or electrical testing?

“They are not paying business rates or tax, or commission to agencies such as Booking.com

It costs a lot of money for hoteliers and guest house owners in Blackpool to comply with a whole raft of regulations which airbnd does not have.

“There is nothing right about any of this. For every back room that is let in this way, you are taking trade away from a proper business provider.

“We could start to see permanent flats coming up for sale and being let as airbnb.

“You could get a situation where guests are coming and going, having parties etc and completely ruining the place for permanent residents.

“The idea of airbnb was not a bad one when it first started, but it has grown out of all proportion and there are no controls.”

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has already raised concerns about the impact of airbnb on its members.

In response airbnb announced earlier in December it is to crack down on London users who ignore the 90-day legal limit in a bid to remove ‘unwelcome commercial operators.’

Limits will be introduced by next spring.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “We will continue to ensure fair competition for our members in terms of regulation and taxes, and to ensure all home sharing platforms assume a duty of care to their hosts and guests.”