Airbnb and similar platforms have seen a collapse of business since the start of the Coronavirus crisis with some 70 per cent of bookings cancelled according to a trade body.
The Short Term Accommodation Association has surveyed corporate members and since March 13 most companies have seen more than 70 per cent of their reservations cancelled, with some losing more than 90 per cent
The association says most companies have lost more than 70 per cent of their income and without government support, all companies say they will have to consider making some employees redundant.
“These findings are certainly not surprising but show that the short-term rental sector, that makes a massive contribution to the UK economy each year, is under severe threat” claims Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA.
“For those short-letting their home, the loss of both present and future income could be devastating. Thousands of people use the sharing economy to help pay their mortgage; for some, it is their primary source of income. Countless small entrepreneurs face going out of business, removing money from local economies both now, and in the future, when they will not be around to service demand once the virus has abated” she adds.
The STAA is lobbying the government and wants:
- amended domestic legislation to allow the provision of refunds and price reductions as vouchers and credit notes instead of cash;
- temporary solutions to address cash drainage arising from the chargeback mechanism under credit card schemes;
- alternations to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to keep people in this sector working through the crisis;
- and guidance to ensure that company directors are not obliged to personally guarantee loans.