Theo Lomas is the Head of Public Policy and Government Relations for Northern Europe at Airbnb

Last month, we warmly welcomed the Government’s decision to introduce a registration scheme for short-term lets in the UK. At Airbnb, we’ve led the way in championing progressive rules for short-term lets – first calling for a smart, digital registration system in our Summer 2021 White Paper. This announcement represents a huge step forward in creating clear and modern rules that strike the right balance between meeting the needs of local communities, Hosts, and guests.

We are acutely aware of the stress and pressures that many households are facing right now. As people look for new ways to boost their income, more than a third of Hosts across the UK report that they Host to afford the rising cost of living[1].

Our platform enables anyone with a spare room or who might be away from home for a few weeks to share their space. The typical UK Host on Airbnb makes just over £6,000 from renting out their property[2]. This is extra income that is needed now more than ever.

Short-term lets provide additional and affordable choice for families booking holidays in the UK. By making areas with limited traditional accommodation options more accessible, guests are able to venture further off the beaten track. These communities in turn benefit from visitors spending money in the bars, restaurants, and shops they might otherwise have missed.

The introduction of our ‘categories’ and ‘flexible search’ features also help guests discover unique properties outside of the most touristic areas. Early insights suggest that this update is driving more sustainable and dispersed travel patterns in countries across Europe.[3]

By enabling locals to open their homes to travelling guests, Airbnb helps cities and communities accommodate spikes in demand for large-scale events such as COP26 in Glasgow or the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. At a time of rising costs, hosting enables local people to share in the success of events within their community.

While the return of large-scale events and inbound travel has been vital for businesses and communities that rely on tourism, we recognise that it has exposed challenges in certain communities. This is why we welcome the Government’s decision to introduce a short-term lets register.

Building a central, nationwide picture of short-term lets will go a long way towards solving more local issues – including mapping tourism infrastructure or ensuring health & safety standards – while providing policymakers and authorities with crucial insight.

We look forward to working together with policymakers to establish clear and proportionate rules on short-term lets. Rules that will preserve the benefits of hosting for everyday British families, give communities more control, and help local businesses.

[1] Compact survey, 2021

[2] The typical Host earnings amount represents the median amount of earnings for UK Hosts in 2021.


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