The Shared Economy - How it affects Airbnb and Windu Property listings

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The growth of Bed and Breakfast as an accommodation alternative is a success story unparalleled throughout the Western World and, in particular, NSW and ACT.
To meet demand and substantiate Bed and Breakfast's place in the tourism industry there is now a growing need for increased knowledge and professionalism among Bed and Breakfast operators and to that end we have made available (on order) copies of both the titles - "Operating a Bed & Breakfast and Farmstay Business" and "A Feasibility Study for Aspiring B&B Operators"
Current trends show that changes in the workplace could be one of the main contributors to the high level of interest in becoming a Bed & Breakfast operator.  Another influential factor is the growth of the short break holiday market.  Those who take short break holidays historically prefer this form of accommodation.
 
The shared economy is changing the way in which people book their accommodation. Global reservation systems such as Airbnb and Windu (to name a few) list many B&B property owners who have bypassed local government regulations .In doing so they place themselves at risk if anything goes wrong while hosting guests, for example personal accidents.
While the above services are popular with consumers they raise serious issues in relation to public safety and may contravene current tax obligations.
It is estimated that Airbnb have in excess of 30,000 listed property owners in Australia of which 10,000 are in Sydney alone. This compares with approximately 1000 B&Bs in NSW who have complied with local regulations by having their D.A. approval.
 
The approximate average P.A. income earned by NSW properties listed with Airbnb is $5000. If this level of income applies to you then why wouldn't you think that by joining our states B&B/Farmstay Ass you could be guided to generate more income? As a full member of the BBFNSW-ACT Association your property is listed on our accommodations web-site which is well promoted on the Internet. There is NO commission paid on bookings made for travelers as they deal with you direct'  Whereas with many International reservation platforms the booking commission ranges from 3% to 15% and in some cases there is a guest listing/processing fee of 6%-12% is payable.  
It is recognised globally that Airbnb is a very strong brand and is well supported by the travelling public however, those property owners who list their B&Bs should be aware of the following requirements that protect hosts and their guests alike.
 
·         Minimum $10 million public, product and private liability cover
·         Fire safety precautions; i.e. smoke detectors that are hard wired plus a fire extinguisher/fire blanket
·         Health regulations i.e., kitchen - food and Hygiene course is suggested
·         Wheel chair access where applicable
·         Tax issues such as a ABN/number Business name - there is a legal obligation to declare all income
·         GST is only payable if annual income is over $75K
Notes:
·         Some insurance companies will not provide Public Liability cover if the property owner does not have D.A. approval from their local city/shire council.
·         Many Local councils insist that B&Bs must be registered as a food provider and subsequently will come and inspect your food diary
·         Your insurance company may also need to know that you are running a B&B form home as would your mortgage provider
·         Some local Governments in NSW have sent a notice  threatening Airbnbs with a $1.1 million dollar fine if they continue to trade - we are not aware of s single successful prosecution
·         The NSW government is being pressured to standardise local council rules as they apply to home hosting and Internet accommodation platforms
·         During the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 there were initiatives surrounding private billeting for athletes and the encouragement of home stays for international and interstate visitors. These initiatives were for the period of the Olympic Games only and were not adopted as an ongoing policy
·         We strongly urge all property owners to join our state's Bed and Breakfast and Farmstay Association for advice and mentoring services
It is important to remember, however, that knowledge is not an end in itself.  You must use the knowledge gained from joining our association as a resource and stepping stone to achieve your goals and aspirations.  The main message is that the research you need to do to make your B&B/Farmstay a success must be personal to you and your market.

Good Luck in your venture
Stewart Whyte

Article Credits
Author: 
Stewart Whyte