1 October 2019
With the recent press coverage surrounding how Airbnb customers have turned up to their holiday getaway to find that the property doesn’t exist and renewed calls for regulation on the short stay market, industry leader Deborah Heather speaks out to highlight that there is already a solution in place.
Quality in Tourism's Safe, Clean & LegalTM scheme was launched to register home stay operators (individual rentals or rentals as a business) improving transparency, and to quality assess their operations to assure guest safety. It has already been adopted by the Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) with members signing up for accreditation currently. It was also recommended in the official documentation from the APPG and presented in Westminster as a solution to a lack of regulation. Quality in Tourism has been approved as a Primary Authority Partner with Cornwall Council, enabling the scheme and standards to be rolled out across other UK councils.
Quality in Tourism has been 'banging the drum' for the last three years to inform the authorities that in this fast-paced, changing world of tourism, more operators are emerging, able to list on various platforms with no checks and are risking the welfare of consumers.
Deborah says “Consumers assume that short-term rental properties have had appropriate checks and are at least safe when in reality there is nothing to determine that this is the case. Due to lack of regulation, hosts are able to list properties that don't have even the most basic smoke alarms!”
She continues “We would welcome a mandatory register, although the APPG report that was presented to Parliament went even further and concluded that more needs to be done to protect customer safety, maintain a level regulatory playing field across the tourism industry, take into account the needs of local communities and ensure that all operators of tourism accommodation are paying the appropriate level of taxation.”
The recent press highlights how Airbnb are running a series of consultations across the UK with major UK cities to discuss the possibility of some form of registration for hosts. It is worth noting however that if Airbnb create a separate register for only their hosts, it undermines the independence required, means that an operator could list on two different platforms and be held to two different sets of standards, and becomes impossible to enforce with an additional administrative burden.
The independent APPG report also named Quality in Tourism's Safe, Clean & LegalTM and suggested that an accreditation scheme such as this is rolled out across all properties on all sharing economy platforms.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Safe, Clean & LegalTM and how we can help your business, agency or indeed destination, please contact us on 0845 300 6996 or email qualityintourism.com