The online short-lets industry is growing so fast that a trade body for Airbnb hosts and property managers has been launched.
Called the Professional Host Alliance, it aims to rebuild confidence in the sector dominated by Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and HomeAway by promoting professionalism among the hosts who rent out homes via these platforms.
The launch information about the alliance hints at why the sector is desperately in need of professionalisation; Airbnb in particular is being tarnished by reports of properties being used as party houses and as bases for prostitution, drug dealing and scams.
Yesterday Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky announced on Twitter that it is to begin verifying all hosts and listings on its platform, a process it promises to finish by the end of the year, following a fatal shooting that took place at an Airbnb party house in the US.
At the moment anyone can become a host and offer a property without completing any identity checks or having to prove the property can be rented out.
One of the founders of the Professional Host Alliance is Lavanda, the short-term lets platform that works with estate agents including Hunters to plug void periods.
CEO Guy Westlake (left) who is also chairman of the Professional Host Alliance, says: “The Alliance is the missing catalyst that is necessary to professionalise the short-term rental industry and unlock a step-change in the experiences of guests and hosts globally.
“With better support, partnerships, tools and access to information, professional hosts will be able to innovate faster and realise the hugely exciting potential in this sector.”