11 December 2015 – La Opinión de Málaga
The province of Málaga may account for more than half of the supply of holiday homes for rent in the autonomous region of Andalucía – specifically, 53% – at least, that is according to the calculations performed by the international firm Homeaway. The company is one of the market leaders in a segment that is causing a lot of controversy at the moment, with hoteliers, through groups such as Exceltur, accusing its participants of unfair competition given that they operate in a legal vacuum and are not subject to tax charges. The spokesman for Homeaway in Spain, Joseba Cortázar, who was speaking at a conference about the collaborative economy held yesterday in the Andalucía Lab de Marbella, said that the region, which has 14,600 properties advertised on its website (7,800 in Málaga) accounts for 16% of its total holiday rental supply in Spain (around 88,000 properties). Homeaway, together with Airbnb and Niumba, is one of the most representative companies in this sector, accounting for almost a quarter of all activity in Spain.
Homeaway, which cites that the Costa del Sol is one of its main markets, says that, at the global level, rented holiday homes have generated an economic impact of €793 million in Andalucía over the last two years, of which €761 million was spent on leisure and food during visitors’ stays, “impacting directly on businesses in the region”. The data is presented in a report compiled for the company by the Marketing Department of the University of Salamanca. In its conclusions, it says that rented holiday homes “are not competition, but are actually complementary to hotels, given that 81% (600,629) of the 740,000 visitors (resident in Spain and aged between 18 and 65) who leased tourist accommodation in Andalucía during the last two years, also stayed in hotels and only 19% (140,088) exclusively leased holiday home accommodation.
Homeaway’s report also says that the people who rented both holiday homes and hotels for leisure and holidays are the ones who take the most trips per year (6.57 times), a higher number than those that have stayed in a holiday home in Andalucía at least once in the last two years, independently of whether they have complemented their stay with nights in a hotel (5.84 times). According to this data, families (47%), couples (28%) and groups of friends (23%) are the main users of holiday homes in the autonomous region, whilst couples (49%) and families (34%) are most prevalent in hotels, with groups of friends taking a smaller share of the market (10%). For Homeaway, the report demonstrates the “complementarity” of the two accommodation types.
Cortázar did acknowledge that holiday homes in Andalucía are still in a “lawless” situation given the lack of specific regulation beyond that afforded by traditional rental guidance. (…).
On the flipside, Exceltur published a study in Málaga a few weeks ago, which showed that holiday homes do not represent a complementary offer, but rather are an invasive, substitute product, which offer no real capacity to attract new or different tourist besides the ones who typically use regulated hotels and apartments. Exceltur indicated that the majority of the visitors opting for that formula do so primarily for price reasons (…). Its report also denies that holiday homes can be defined as part of the collaborative economy: only 7% of homes advertised on digital platforms – the real driver behind the sector – involve free exchange and are offered in return for no payment. The rest, according to Exceltur, represent “a huge business”.
Original story: La Opinión de Málaga (by José Vicente Rodríguez)
Translation: Carmel Drake