Edmonton was declared the third most popular destination to book a short-term vacation rental, according to Airbnb’s annual report.
The site crowned Edmonton as a top trending place based on bookings for the first half of 2018. It recorded a 284 per cent jump compared to 2017. Airbnb did not provide the number of bookings on which it bases its percentage increases.
Airbnb has been a growing trend as people are putting their houses, bedrooms and apartments up for rent. St. Albert currently has around 10 Airbnb locations available for rent, although the number fluctuates throughout the year.
The increase would suggest a threat to the local hotel industry, but one owner says the trend hasn’t affected his hotel.
“I think it’s definitely a problem and it could be growing,” Michael Mazepa, owner of St. Albert Inn and Suites, said. “But can I say that my sales have dropped a per cent? I can’t.”
The hotel has been open for 40 years in St. Albert.
Mazepa said his main concern is whether people have to apply for a license to classify their home as an Airbnb. He added that the hotel has to meet safety requirements imposed by the city, such as proper fire safety regulations, to operate.
“The city doesn’t know that they’re running an Airbnb, you’re not paying any kind of fee to have a licence. The City of St. Albert is not benefiting,” he said.
He adds that the hotel requires a licence to have liquor on its premises, whereas Airbnb’s do not.
While the city was unable to provide comment, one official said Airbnb is new territory for the city. The Land Use Bylaw doesn’t have a category for Airbnb, and as such, the city does not require a landlord to obtain a permit or a licence before renting out their homes via Airbnb.
Bed and breakfasts, on the other hand, are covered by the bylaw.
“In the case of a B&B, the owners live in the house and look after their visitors. This is different from an Airbnb, where the owners are not living in the house at the time of the rental,” Cory Sinclair, manager of corporate communications with the City of St. Albert, said in an email.
Other hotels in St. Albert were unable to respond to the Gazette by press time.
Edmonton came behind Gangneung, Korea, and Bournemouth, U.K. on the ‘trending destinations list’. Airbnb attributed Edmonton’s popularity to its proximity to the Rockies.
• Gangneung, Korea: 2175%
• Bournemouth, U.K.: 353%
• Edmonton, Alta.: 284%
• Indianapolis, Ind.: 256%
• Da Nang, Vietnam: 255%
• Columbus, Ohio: 254%
• Gazimagusa, Cyprus: 234%
• Bilbao, Spain: 234%
• Hanoi, Vietnam: 212%
• Matinhos, Brazil: 209%
• Cardiff, U.K.: 206%
• Guarapari, Brazil: 205%
• Minneapolis, Minn.: 193%
• Oita, Japan: 190%
• Dunedin, New Zealand: 185%
• Mar del Plata, Argentina: 181%
• Fernie, B.C.: 179%
• Zagreb, Croatia: 175%
• Mykonos, Greece: 173%
• Mazatlan, Mexico: 169%
Mid-sized cities, the Brazilian coastline, mountain retreats and beach towns were named as overall top trending destinations. Tokyo was projected as the number one city to visit in 2018, while New York sat at fourth place and London in fifth.