Hospitality Today Summer 2018 (#39) - Page 23 | 23 by over 409,000 in the last five years, which is testament to the health of the industry. However, as we’re seeing across the entire economy – the way we’re working and employing is changing. Employees expect flexibility and often, employers require it - businesses must respond to that. “We believe the ‘now economy’ is a system where companies can more efficiently manage staffing costs, and people are free to pursue the roles they want.” Airbnb now approximately a third of the size of the hotel sector in London – suggests recent research Airbnb is now roughly a third (32%) of the size of the hotel sector in London, suggests new research showing there are approximately 64,000 Airbnb listed properties in London compared to 197,970 hotel rooms, says Moore Stephens, the Top Ten Accountancy firm. Concerns have been raised that Airbnb is taking advantage of an uneven playing field to gain market share from the more formal hotel and bed & breakfast sector in London and across the UK. The hotel industry has complained that property owners renting out their rooms through Airbnb: do not pay business rates; do not pay VAT; often have lower health & safety standards than hotels – or fail to adhere to formal health & safety standards; are often in breach of planning regulations that put the legality of their use as holiday accommodation in doubt; are unlikely to be advising their insurers about change in use and the additional risks involved; create problems including security issues for other residents in residential blocks as many residential properties do not have the kind of sound proofing, etc. expected of hotels. Many major cities around the world have already clamped down on Airbnb and have introduced stricter regulations. For example, Airbnb hosts must now: be full-time residents and can only rent their property for 90 days in San Francisco; pay an annual fee for a tourist licence in Barcelona; obtain a general permit from their borough in Berlin and could face a maximum penalty of up to €500,000 for breaking any regulation. * Most recent available data; hotel room availability from Visit Britain, data on Airbnb listings from sources including AirDNA, Airbnb UK Insi vG2&W'BFU&26