Airbnb is an innovative approach to the hospitality industry, where technology acts as the broker between travelers and hosts. Much like its transportation counterpart, Uber, Airbnb doesn’t own any property. It merely owns a worldwide platform that connects hosts to guests to fulfill their lodging needs.
By providing a trusted platform, Airbnb has renovated lodging by offering travelers a more unique experience than a traditional hotel, often for a fraction of the cost. Likewise, hosts are able to earn extra money by renting out extra rooms or even their entire home. It’s a win-win situation on the surface, but the non-participants are stuck with the losing end.
The innovation behind Airbnb isn’t without its downfalls. The idea behind house sharing has inspired investors to dabble in hospitality by purchasing small homes for the sole purpose of renting them tax free for shorter terms. When short term rentals aren’t taxed at the same rate as comparable lodging, their profitability rises exponentially.
As a result, long term housing for local residents is disappearing and people are being priced out of the housing market. Without homes available for long term rental, residents are being displaced. Right now, there are over 2,100 Airbnb listings available in a township of under 20,000 full time residents. Instead of families, frat parties are more prevalent on Friday nights, redefining the notion of neighborhoods.
While alarming, the situation isn’t hopeless. Cities like San Diego and Mammoth have imposed tight regulation upon the short-term rental market. Similarly, other cities, like San Francisco, have imposed transient occupancy taxes upon Airbnb, ensuring fair competition in the lodging industry while financially supporting the community.
This city can take cue from others and ensure that our residents and thus our communities stay intact. Email your local representative to share your concerns about the future of your neighborhood. Help us keep Big Bear residential.
Have any Airbnb vacation rentals become available in your neighborhood? Please share your experience.