It's hard to know whether greater transparency will benefit or hinder these short-term rental platforms. Might lawmakers use the information as a stick to wield over the industry?
Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia Group, and Tripadvisor have come to a data-sharing agreement with the European Union.
The deal means that for the first time reliable information about the short-term rental market will be made public via the EU’s statistical office Eurostat.
This is the first time that short-term rental competitors have come together to share data about a global market.
Airbnb and other platforms have been fighting a running battle across Europe over the proliferation of urban rentals. Cities like Amsterdam and Barcelona have put in place restrictions with many locals voicing their concerns about the impact on house prices.
When the first lot of data becomes available later this year we’ll have a better understanding of where the market is. It will include the number of nights booked and the number of guests staying. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the agreement would protect the privacy of both guests and hosts.
“Tourism is a key economic activity in Europe. Short-term accommodation rentals offer convenient solutions for tourists and new sources of revenue for people. At the same time, there are concerns about impact on local communities,” said Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for internal market.
“For the first time we are gaining reliable data that will inform our ongoing discussions with cities across Europe on how to address this new reality in a balanced manner.”
Two lobbying groups for the sector — EU Travel Tech and the European Holiday Home Association — both welcomed the move.
“The short-term rental sector hopes that data sharing will contribute to more complete statistics on tourist accommodation around Europe, allow public authorities to better understand the development of the collaborative economy and support evidence-based policies,” they said.
According to a 2019 survey conducted by Eurostat, 21 percent of EU citizens had used a peer-to-peer accommodation site.
Photo credit: An Airbnb Plus listing in Lisbon. The company and others will share data with the European Union. Airbnb