Airbnb more than doubled its share of overnight London visitors last year

Alys Key
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The site's share of the overnight stay market more than doubled (Source: Getty)

Bookings made through Airbnb to stay in London rose by 130 per cent last year to 4.62 million, more than doubling its share of the market.

Growth looks set to continue in 2017, with a 55 per cent increase in London bookings during the first four months of the year compared to 2016, according to Colliers International and Hotelschool The Hague.

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As a result, Airbnb's share of the London overnight stay market more than doubled to 9 per cent.

Five boroughs accounted for half of all bookings: Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Camden, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hackney.

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Marc Finney, head of hotels & resorts consulting at Colliers commented: “Our research shows that Airbnb now represents a notable and growing type of accommodation offer in the capital. As the scale grows, the lack of regulation becomes a greater concern to many, and rightly so.

"It is interesting though that despite the growth, we’re seeing relatively little negative impact on the hotel sector. In a lot of ways, Airbnb is a different product offer, just one that now benefits from better visibility.”

More than half (54 per cent) of listings in 2016 were offered by hosts with more than one listing, raising some concerns in the industry about the scale of professional lettings.

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Dirk Bakker, head of EMEA hotels at Colliers International said: “Airbnb is no longer just an accommodation site for individuals letting out their own homes. People are now buying residential properties specifically for Airbnb, which has the potential to dilute neighbourhoods and become a social issue for residential areas, creating transient zones."

But Airbnb insisted it is happy to work with local authorities.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said: "As with any innovation, new rules are needed to keep pace with changes in consumer habits. Airbnb has so far worked with more than 300 governments around the world on progressive home sharing rules, and we have introduced automated hosting limits in London to help ensure home sharing grows responsibly and sustainably."

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