Tourism industry concerned about Airbnb rentals

Canada’s national hotel industry released a study this fall that found nearly 80% of the revenue generated by Airbnb in Canada comes from properties with no long-term residents. The Hotel Association of Canada said the study demonstrates what has increasingly been suggested anecdotally: that the concept of true “home-sharing” is no longer what Airbnb and similar rental sites are all about.

Instead, the study found that roughly 80% – $462 million – of Airbnb’s Canadian revenue comes from whole-unit rentals where the owner is not present. The fastest-growing segment of the private-rental industry, according to the study, is multiple-listing hosts who have two or more properties listed at any given time, exclusively for use as short-term rentals. The hotel industry refers to these as “ghost hotels.” The study noted that in Winnipeg, the hotel industry supports about 3,500 full-time jobs, while the Airbnb industry supports just 4 (contracted housekeepers/cleaners), despite revenues in the millions.

Many MLOA members have identified private rentals as an issue in Manitoba, particularly with private cottages being rented out through Airbnb style sites, Kijiji and other online platforms. We have urged the provincial government to level the playing field so that licensed, tax-paying businesses can compete with private rentals that are not subject to the same regulation, taxation, commercial zoning, insurance and other requirements of the legitimate business world. We hope this recent study will encourage the province and our various municipalities to act in this regard.