Short-term rental (STR) has seen a strong growth in the last decade, now representing the largest accommodation sector in Europe, valued at 35 bn € in 2016. Short-term rentals have been available for decades, and have become more popular as travellers increasingly seek alternative accommodation options.
With travellers increasingly opting for short term rental accommodation, online consumer-facing travel platforms have diversified their offer accordingly. These platforms act as intermediators between the property owners and consumers – they provide property owners of all sizes wide visibility in the marketplace with lower transaction and marketing costs – online travel agents invest 35-40% of their revenue in marketing, and access to a global customer base whilst maintaining full control of their own pricing. For consumers they provide an easy to use tool for searching and comparing a large variety of accommodation options in order to book accommodations short-term rental platforms list millions of homes in Europe providing accommodations options for travellers seeking greater flexibility and a different type of stay. Within the short-term rental market there are alternative housing options – of primary residence for short periods of time, to secondary or holiday residence rental, home stays multi-property owners, amongst others. The property owners vary between owners that provide short-term rentals on a very occasional basis to fully professional service providers. The latter can go from SMEs to large companies, including formal hotel services. Thus, short-term rental platforms are not only creating opportunities for travellers and communities, but also enabling a variety of business models to thrive.
Read below our paper with our views on the key challenges and the way forward for the STR sector in Europe.