Eurobarometer survey shows need to consider impacts on communities

Europe: Short-term rentals improve the attractiveness of tourism service offerings in the European Union [EU] although the impacts on their wider communities will need to be considered, according to a recent survey on the segment published by Eurobarometer.

The survey, conducted in September across the continent, maintains that, in order to ensure the future development and innovation of the short-term rental sector, platforms and providers will have to respect public policy objectives such as the availability of affordable housing and the protection of urban centres at the same time.

Among the findings, it was revealed that 29 per cent of those surveyed had booked short-term rentals through online platforms at least once, of which 89 per cent said they considered it a positive experience that they would recommend to others.

Meanwhile, the results highlight how short-term rentals can lead to a more diversified accommodation offering for tourists, offering better prices [63 per cent], better facilities [49 per cent] and better locations [43 per cent].

On the other hand, however, 45 per cent of respondents said that short-term rentals can lead to higher noise, congestion and waste, which are all typical nuisances for guests, and 42 per cent believed that such accommodation would generate higher prices and put added pressure on housing availability.

The results of the survey will feed into the European Commission’s assessment when it comes to potentially implementing a single set of regulatory measures across the bloc. It follows the recent publication of a staff paper in which the Commission said it wanted to both expand competition within the short-term rental sector and also respect EU law which allows for member states to apply local rules based on concerns that are in the public interest.

Earlier this year, Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union [EU], published the first key data on short-term accommodation booked via four of the most prominent online travel agencies [OTAs].

The statistics, which are being regularly updated by Eurostat, covered national, regional and city-level data on the number of stays booked and the number of nights spent in 2018 and 2019 in accommodation reserved on Airbnb, Booking, Expedia Group and Tripadvisor.

The full Eurobarometer report, as well as a factsheet with key data from the survey, can be viewed at this link.