Airbnb listings skyrocket in cities – even where they are banned – and operators in Victoria, Canada, creatively evade regulations to profit in during an affordability crisis.
While reporting on the short-term rental saturation story last week, I got into some data-digging to find out which markets saw the largest increase in available listings. I was specifically interested in available bookable listings, rather than listings or occupancy, because the former is a factor in market saturation, which impacts home prices.
But the data from Rabbu, a short-term rental data provider, had me gawking at my screen.
Top Cities for Airbnb Active Listings Growth Year Over Year Through June 2023
This is “wild” (in the words of Skift executive editor Dennis Schaal) because short-term rentals are banned in New York City unless an owner is present during the stay, and capped at 120 days in Los Angeles.
Although as large markets New York and LA added the largest number of active listings, Phoenix added more listings on a percentage basis than New York (48.15% versus 43.9%), and Brooklyn (35.75%) and Myrtle Beach (34.28%) grew listings at a higher percentage growth than LA (32.42%).
Meanwhile, ProPublica published an investigation yesterday looking into violations of Los Angeles’ residential hotel law. It found 21 residential hotels with more than 800 rooms advertising to tourists. As it stands today, the law in Los Angeles allows owners to apply for exemptions from the residential hotel law if they can prove they have not historically operated as long-term housing. It also allows hotel owners to convert their properties to other uses if they either replace the affordable housing or pay into a city housing fund.
The report stated that the LA Housing Department told ProPublica that low staffing made it difficult to enforce the residential hotel law and that sometimes hotels barred their inspectors from coming in without an administrative warrant.
Liverpool, New York Regulates Rentals Again
Liverpool Village in Central New York has recently become part of the group of municipalities that have chosen to prohibit or restrict short-term rentals. According to Bill Reagan, the village’s code enforcement officer, it’s worth noting that the village’s zoning code had never allowed Airbnbs, Vrbos, or any other form of temporary rentals. Strangely, this fact went unnoticed to some until now, prompting the village board to pass a local law to explicitly clarify and reinforce the existing ban.
Sonder’s Reverse Stock Split Proposal
Skift reported in April that Sonder received a notice of potential delisting from Nasdaq because the company failed to satisfy the minimum bid price listing rule as its common stock traded below $1.00 per share for 30 consecutive business days. On Friday, the company filed a proxy asking shareholders to approve a reverse stock split.
This is how it would work, according to a Sonder communication to employees: “If you own 100 shares of common stock where the value of each share was $10 per share, your investment is worth $1000. In a 1-for-10 reverse stock split, you would instead own 10 shares (divide the number of your shares by 10) and the share price would increase to $100 per share (multiply the share price by 10). Your investment is worth $1,000 either way and will fluctuate from there of course.”
In More Sonder News: It announced Monday that chief accounting officer Chris Berry will be leaving the company August 18 to “to pursue a new professional opportunity,” and that its chief financial officer, Dominique Bourgault, will take on the additional role of principal accounting officer.
Villages Clubs du Soleil, a holiday club operator based in Marseille, has acquired holiday rental specialist Vacancéole in a deal whose terms were not disclosed. This acquisition will serve as a catalyst for Villages Clubs du Soleil to enhance its foothold in the French market while simultaneously diversifying its destinations and service portfolio. The company’s aim is to establish itself as a prominent player in France’s domestic holiday sector.
Operators in Victoria, Canada are avoiding significant annual fees by claiming to reside in their listed units; the city is therefore considering the possibility of strengthening its short-term rental regulations. Victoria, being home to one of the most expensive rental markets in the country, has seen a notable rise in the conversion of residential units into short-term vacation accommodations.
The existing rules allow owners to rent out up to two bedrooms of their principal residence or list the entire home as a short-term accommodation on occasion while they’re away. Operators also have to get a business license every year and abide by certain rules. The number of non-principal operator applications has been steadily increasing each year, leading to concerns about housing being diverted to the short-term market amid an ongoing “affordability crisis.”
Elsewhere in Skift
On July 25, 2022, exactly a year ago yesterday, Hilton Worldwide launched an international marketing campaign centered around the concept of offering dependable lodging experiences as a key differentiator. Alongside this, the company introduced its first “platform” for the Hilton “masterbrand,” which involved adding the tagline “for the stay” to all Hilton-related communications.
So, how did the campaign perform?
According to the hotel giant, the results were highly positive, marking its most extensive marketing push in six years. The effort led to notable improvements in sales, brand awareness, and market share. Impressively, the overall campaign generated a minimum of 16 billion impressions in the past year, leveraging TV advertisements, social media, paid online ads, billboards, and various other channels.
Skift’s Sean O’Neill writes, “Hilton undertook a partial rebrand last year. Early data suggests that the massive ad blitz, which contrasted hotels with alternative accommodations, is paying off.”
Srividya Kalyanaraman writes the Skift Short-Term Rental Report. Contact her with news tips and feedback at [email protected]
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