Airbnb wins 15 percent of all Utrecht hotel stays
Airbnb is a major player in Utrecht. According to calculations by Utrecht University, per year about 40 thousand people book an overnight stay from a private renter in the city via Airbnb. That is about 15 percent of all overnight stays, AD reports.
"The Airbnb market in Utrecht is relatively large, even larger than in Amsterdam, because Utrecht has relatively few hotel rooms." Geographer and head researcher Egbert van der Zee said to the newspaper. "The informal sector is therefore very important for tourists. I hear from Airbnb landlords that they are full when there is a big fair on the Jaarbeurs. Hotels are then too expensive for ordinary visitors. And Airbnb picks up the slack." For the study the Utrecht University used data collected by a third party, because Airbnb does not share the data itself. Bed and breakfasts and hotels who advertise on the house sharing site were excluded.
Utrecht does not yet have specific rules for Airbnb rentals, though the city is working on rules similar to what Amsterdam enforces. This includes that tourist tax must be paid and that homeowners are not allowed to rent out their homes for more than 90 days per year.
Leo Hollman of the Grand Hotel Karel V. thinks that Utrecht should pick up the pace on implementing rules for Airbnb. "Competition is great, but then on an equal field. They must also pay tax and meet the basic safety requirements", he said to AD. "Calculate: one night costs maybe an average of 55 to 60 euros, times 5 percent tax times 50 thousand is a lot of money Utrecht loses out on."
Alderman Jeroen Kreijkamp promises that rules will be implemented by summer.