Study finds Airbnb taking five percent of hotel market; multi-unit hosts taking half of revenue

High density living space in Vancouver's Yaletown district.A recent study of Airbnb’s impact on the hotel industry in Canada has concluded that the online booking service is taking 5.1 percent of Metro Vancouver’s hotel revenue and meeting about 5.3 percent of overall demand.

“Our industry is rife with deniers,” says HLT Advisory, a consulting firm that partnered with Ryerson University for the study. “In fact, as recently as Q1 of 2016, one of our competitors told a major Canadian industry association that Airbnb’s impact had been, and was expected to be, negligible. Well…it’s not.

“And the impact in the future is set to increase. Airbnb is neither a product nor a brand, Airbnb is a delivery “channel” and a channel with lots of upside (or downside, depending on your point of view) given the ease with which new supply can be added. Airbnb is the very model of a disruptor.”

Among the other findings of the study, which generally corrorborates much of what has been published elsewhere, Airbnb’s Metro Vancouver listings from July to December last year exceeded 7,000 for all types of accommodation.On average, about 1,121 units are booked every night in Metro Vancouver.

In addition:

  • “entire place” listings accounted for 69 percent of the total;
  • “entire place” listings amounted to 84 percent of revenue; and
  • multi-unit hosts took 54 percent of the revenue.

These numbers do much to undermine the argument that most Airbnb hosts are simply folks using a few rentals as a mortgage helper. The report also notes that commercial Airbnb hosts are getting a big tax break compared to hotels, which pay property tax in Vancouver at twice the rate of residential homeowners.