Hotel Industry unites to make Airbnb play fair

OTTAWA — Xavier Gret, Association Hôtellerie Québec, Susie Grynol of HAC and Tony Elenis of ORHMA held a press conference today regarding proliferation of commercial Airbnb operators in Canada.

From left: Xavier Gret of the Association Hôtellerie Québec, Susie Grynol of HAC and Tony Elenis of ORHMA.

From left: Xavier Gret of the Association Hôtellerie Québec, Susie Grynol of HAC and Tony Elenis of ORHMA.

OTTAWA — Xavier Gret of the Association Hôtellerie Québec, Susie Grynol of HAC and Tony Elenis of ORHMA held a press conference today regarding the proliferation of commercial Airbnb operators across Canada.

The press conference was held to announce the results of a comprehensive study showing that commercial operators are growing exponentially and outpacing actual home sharing activity. 

“The study shows that the growth has been in the business segment of Airbnb consisting of commercial operators — those who have more than one home or multiple unit,” Grynol told CLN. “The growth has been in this sector: with 134 per cent growth in revenue and 118 per cent growth in units. From a hotel perspective those are pretty shocking statistics. They are direct competitors to hoteliers.”

For the first time, the national hotel association is leading a united initiative in conjunction with provincial and city associations. “The Hotel Association of Canada felt it was a priority to bring together all associations at the municipal, provincial and national levels,” said Grynol. She added that 11 Canadian cities were spotlighted in the study, and that both city and provincial associations were announcing the results today.

“We want to reframe the narrative,” she added. “Airbnb has done a brilliant job of public relations that begs questions regarding public policy. We have two competitors in the same market playing by different rules.”

A new website, fairrules.ca, sets out information about the issue including the study, key statistics and a widget that allows members of all the associations to send letters to their political representatives at a grassroots level.

“We have a united front and we're ready to take on this battle,” Grynol said. “It's the first time we have stood up as a collective industry to fight for the hotel sector. It's important for us to win this battle because this is a real competitor that is only growing by the day.”

Grynol added that the united effort will help move politicians toward good public policy to get the rules and inspections in place to level the playing field before the problem gets out of hand.

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