Skift Take

The ‘Airbnbust’ debacle, which saw one short-term rental data vendor showing plunging host revenue way deeper than its peers, went viral. However, it does call for some introspection and interrogation to understand the data from different vendors that often is a bedrock for any story. 

The ‘Airbnbust’ debacle, which saw one short-term rental data vendor showing plunging host revenue way deeper than its peers, went viral.  However, it does call for some introspection and interrogation (on my part) to understand the data I get from different vendors that often is a bedrock for any story. 

And I figured if I am to trust and use the data provided to me and then exhibit it to you, it’s a worthy pursuit to understand the methodology and technology and more importantly, where the data might fall short.

When I reached out to AirDNA, Beyond and PriceLabs, I was impressed with their prompt responses and enthusiasm to answer questions. Sure, it’s a chance to boast and give me the standard sales pitch for why their product is the best. But…that’s not what happened. Everyone I spoke to highlighted the problems first. Second, the challenges the industry faces as a whole and third, which took me most by surprise, they all knew what they lacked and who was better at it than them.

To summarize, no one claims to have 100% coverage or accuracy of the data given the fragmented state of the industry. Everyone agrees that there needs to be some standardization of the metrics being analyzed and sold and lastly, not every company can be the best at everything — nor is it feasible or worth it commercially to be. What matters is what the users of the data need to run their business effectively.

Amex Travel Launches Vacation Rental Program

American Express Travel is launching Select Homes + Retreats, what it describes as a premium vacation rental program. Launched as a pilot, the program is currently available to a small group of U.S. consumers and small business platinum cardholders.  The program has launched with partnerships with Vacasa, Moving Mountains, Island Escapes, BlueWater, Casiola, Panhandle Getaways, Maui Paradise, East West Hospitality in following markets: San Diego County Beach Area, Vail & Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Florida Panhandle, West Coast of Florida, Maui, Park City, Cape Cod and Orlando. 

Sonder’s Continued Tryst with Hotels

Sonder and Kalimian Equities have joined forces to oversee the management and operation of The Merchant hotel, a recently built 98-key property in New York City that will open in the fall. The hotel will offer guests the convenience of contactless check-in through the Sonder app, enabling them to bypass the front desk. Additionally, guests can make special requests like early check-in or late checkout through the same app. As of Q1 2023, Sonder managed around 18,200 active and contracted units worldwide.

Albuquerque to Regulate Short-Term Rentals

Albuquerque is following the lead of other cities across the country in considering a restriction on short-term rentals, such as those sold on Airbnb and Vrbo, to prevent housing units from being taken out of the long-term rental market. On August 21, the city council is expected to review a proposal for a cap on the number of short-term rentals. This new legislation would build upon the 2020 short-term rental ordinance, which already mandated that short-term rental owners must obtain a permit and adhere to specific occupancy limits. The proposed permit cap is set at 1,800. This number was increased from the original 1,200 in the previous legislation to accommodate all the existing short-term rentals in the city.

Man Versus City

A recently implemented city ordinance in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida is set to govern the operations of short-term rentals, but it is already headed towards a legal dispute. Approximately 300 property owners are planning to file a lawsuit against the mayor and city attorney later this week. Two weeks ago, this group sent a letter to the city, demanding the repeal of the ordinance, but they received no response.

The newly enacted ordinance enforces several regulations. It restricts the maximum number of guests allowed in a rental home to 12 and limits occupancy to two people per bedroom. Additionally, it mandates that short-term rentals comply with the current state building codes for new construction. Another requirement in the ordinance stipulates that a property owner or manager must be accessible 24/7 to promptly address any reported issues, responding within one hour.

Elsewhere on Skift … Junk Fees

The junk fee issue has gone mainstream and the travel industry has no choice in how to respond: It cannot win this battle. It cannot fight back. There’s no chance it will win, writes Skift CEO Rafat Ali.

“How should the travel industry think about junk fees? The answer is clear: It cannot win this battle. It cannot fight back. There’s no chance it will win. Companies can’t ignore it. They’ll have to tackle it head on and give in to what the government is asking,” Ali writes. “In most cases, that’s transparency. In some cases, it’s doing away with certain fees altogether.” He added: “CEOs should be ahead of it in their public statements and say they’re making all efforts to be as transparent as possible. There’s no other way to go.”

Open Letter to the Travel Industry: You Won’t Win This ‘Junk Fee’ Fight

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Tags: airbnb, sstrr

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