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Does AirBnB pose a threat to London’s hotels?

by Chris Glithero on February 16, 2015

airbnb room

Short-stay accommodation is already a crowded market in London, with countless luxury and boutique hotels co-existing with mid-range budget and limited service offerings. But that market could soon be given a shuffle, if proposals to relax letting regulations in London go ahead.

Last week it was announced that housing legislation would be amended to enable Londoners to legally let out their homes to visitors seeking stays ranging from 2 days to a maximum of ninety days.

To many media commentators, including those at The Guardian, this is being seen as a green light for Londoners to let out their homes for short stays when they are away via services such as AirBnB.

rooms for rent

This has of course been going on for some time anyway, but it is currently illegal and homeowners can face harsh financial penalties if they fail to apply for the proper planning permission.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis directly referred to the website in a written statement, saying, “we want to update these laws to help boost the sharing economy, in light of the popularity of websites like AirBnB and Onefinestay, to help people rent out their property on a short-term basis.”

Will this new development have an impact on the number of people staying at London hotels? In this writer’s opinion, probably not.

Though some visitors may jump at the chance of a homestay experience, for others a hotel offers a greater degree of relaxation and security, with easy access to a wide range of facilities and services. So this move is likely to further segment the market and lead hotels to up their game in offering a more bespoke and “homely” experience.

Search for a London hotel – Book Now, Pay When you Stay

Photo credits: Su-May, David Amsler.

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