Tasmanian accommodation shortages spike Airbnb growth, host says

Airbnb Australia Country Manager Sam McDonagh said everybody shared the benefits from the “tremendous growth” of the Airbnb community in Tasmania. Source: Airbnb Australia
Airbnb Australia Country Manager Sam McDonagh said everybody shared the benefits from the “tremendous growth” of the Airbnb community in Tasmania. Source: Airbnb Australia

Tasmanian Airbnb hosts earn more than $2000 above the national average each year, which one host says could be due to a lack of hotels.

Tasmanian hosts earn $7405 annually, more than 40 per cent above the national average of $5157.

Airbnb host Rick Marton, who owns three Airbnb properties, said there were not enough “traditional beds” in Launceston to accommodate tourists in peak season.

However, the Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) has challenged there were not enough beds, saying areas, such as Launceston, have not been drastically short of room number during a period stretching over more than 10 years.

More than 300 Airbnbs are on offer around Launceston, costing between $23 and $1030 per night.

Mr Marton said Tasmanian hosts probably earned more because the tourism industry was experiencing “growing pains” where the traditional accommodation supply could not meet the demand.

“About 10 per cent of our Tasmanian stays are Airbnbs,” he said.

New Tasmanian Government legislation will come into effect on July 1, where a homeowner is not required to get a permit for a home with up to four bookable rooms and is free to list their home.

Mr Marton said the legislation would open up a new market for people to let others straight into their homes.

People were already buying investment properties to use as Airbnbs, although it was not as easy as people though, he said.

THA general manager Steve Old said the industry did not have issues with online platforms, such as Airbnb, but it needed to be a level playing field.

“We want all operators to pay the same insurance, council rates, trade waste, and the like, so governments at all levels can maintain infrastructure for all Tasmanians,” Mr Old said. 

“How can some operators be required to pay these fees and others who are simply running a business do not?

The THA had occupancy statistics for more than 10 years which showed areas, such as Launceston, were not drastically short of room numbers.

“If the need is there for more rooms, investors will build more rooms to compensate."

Airbnb Australia Country Manager Sam McDonagh said everybody shared the benefits from the “tremendous growth” of the Airbnb community in Tasmania.

“From the hosts who share their homes to get a little extra income to pay the bills, the guests who can now afford to travel to new places, through to the local communities who benefit from a more sustainable kind of tourism,” Mr McDonagh said.

“By helping to grow and diversify tourism in Tasmania, Airbnb is providing a significant economic boost to local communities and small businesses that wouldn’t otherwise benefit from the tourist dollar.”