The adverse effects of Airbnb and holiday homes on local communities is a hotly debated topic across all corners of the UK, particularly in traditional tourist hotspots. This blog post will explain how although short-lets do have some very real downsides, there are plenty of valid reasons why they are beneficial, and often indispensable, to local communities across Britain. In 2008, Airbnb revolutionised the short-let market and enabled homeowners to let out their properties, wherever they are, whatever the property type. Since then, the short letting industry has seen phenomenal growth, indeed, 19% of the UK’s housing stock has been used for short-term lets in the last two years.
As Airbnb and holiday homes sprung up across the nation, people have asked if this is responsible tourism – is all this hosting good for local communities or damaging them?
For many local communities in Britain, the truth of the matter is that short letting creates a generous stream of income that allows their communities to thrive and their local culture to be preserved. Increasingly, short-let management companies are plugging the gap in seasonality using dynamic pricing strategies to attract guests throughout the year.
Pass the Keys is a national company that works with local franchises on the ground. Our local Pass the Keys branches only employ people living in the area and work with the local community to provide sustainable short-let management services.
Here’s how Pass the Keys benefits local communities:
Working with locals
When people think of Airbnb management or holiday cottage management, they may automatically think of a London-based company buying up property in a local area and short letting them for exorbitant prices during the high season.
This does not have to be the case. Companies like Pass the Keys prioritise giving franchises to local people for this exact reason. Not only do they work with people who live in the area but this also allows locals to benefit directly from the rise of tourism.
In this situation, no one would have to lose property or be kicked out of an area. Instead, local hosts can work with professionals from a holiday let agency to not only help get more people to discover their local area but also earn an income.
The community-based tourism encouraged by Pass the Keys prioritises the things that local people need and what they are realistically able to provide to their guests.
It also can provide jobs for people in local communities that perhaps would not be possible without the short-letting industry or at the very least those locals would have significantly less business. According to Airbnb, the average guest in the UK spends £100 a day, with 43% of that figure spent in close proximity to the host’s home.
For example, a Pass the Keys Franchise will require a local photography company that will capture hosts’ properties for marketing online. Pass the Keys also hire local cleaning staff to clean their properties, as well as finding local plumbers, electricians, painters, and even construction workers to perform renovations on their properties.
This not only helps to create a local network of workers but also helps to unite a community. It encourages people to work together for one common purpose, which is helping visitors discover your beautiful area whilst preserving the local culture.
This does not have to strictly be a financial benefit for locals. Having locals willing to rent out their own homes to travellers allows tourists to discover neighbourhoods that they would not usually encounter.
Holiday let companies like Pass the Keys allow travellers to seek alternative accommodation to cruise ships and hotels that are realistically affordable, convenient, safe, and comfortable for them to stay in. Short-lets have the ability to make guests feel like they are at home away from home and prevent guests from existing in the ‘tourist bubble’ of a hotel.
You might have a rural Cotswolds cabin that allows people to collect firewood to warm up or a lakeside Cumbrian cottage that gives guests easy access to watersports, swimming or fishing, or a farmhouse where guests can collect produce directly from the farm.
Whatever the case may be with your home, you will get to show tourists a more authentic version of your local area. You will leave them with a much better idea of what it is really like to live there, and only holiday lets can provide these home-away-home experiences.
Working directly with locals can help promote responsible travel for a few reasons. It allows outsiders both in business and tourists themselves, to get an idea of the exact problems occurring in that specific area.
Working with locals and having local franchise owners also keeps that part of the tourism business small. Plus, it keeps the money within the community, versus hotels that have corporate headquarters many miles from the area.
Pass the Keys local franchises also prevent new infrastructure and more resources from having to be built for tourists. There is also a better chance that locals can encourage guests to respect the environment they are visiting and be mindful of how they impact an area not only in an economic way but also socially and culturally.
Working with locals and keeping travel to local homes can also help prevent the significant emissions damage created by international flights for foreign holidays.
Reducing the seasonality of short-letting
A common misconception is that employment related to UK tourism is seasonal. On the contrary, Pass the Keys Franchisees are finding more and more bookings for seasonal events during the low season as more and more people choose to spend their holidays in the UK. From short city breaks, romantic rural retreats and longer family holidays; after 2 years of discovering the benefits of holidaying in Britain, many tourists are reluctant to go abroad for a holiday. Pass the Keys has seasoned professionals who work with a mix of dynamic pricing software and digital marketing campaigns to attract guests throughout all 4 seasons.
If you have a passion for the short-letting industry and are looking to become your own boss, then why not consider becoming a Pass the Keys Franchise Partner? Operating and managing properties across their local area, our Franchise Partners are supported by the reputation and technology of a national brand, to grow a successful and sustainable local business.