As the number of short-term rentals increases in major cities, a new conversation will take place about the future of the hospital industry. Many argue that short-term rentals are the future, but many of these people forget the benefits that made hotels so popular in the first place. There are a few key areas where rentals distinguish themselves, but their shortcomings are significant enough to limit their long-term potential.
A big advantage of short-term rentals is that many are available off the beaten path. Individuals offer rooms and apartments in neighborhoods that are not open to hotels. This allows visitors to get a better overview of the true culture of a city. The downside of this is that most facilities needed by tourists, including rental agencies, restaurants and convention centers, are located in areas unsuitable for short-term rentals. These include business districts and hospitality districts. Residential areas may be unsuitable for visitors without vehicles or those unused to the area. They can also be located far from sightseeing destinations.
Another advantage of owner-occupied housing is that it is easier to get to know the locals. Some hosts are free to show their favorite haunts and tell the guests the best things to see and do in their new city. Unfortunately, most hosts also have jobs and live outside to rent their homes to visitors. In some cases, the host will be available to turn a key and a little more. Larger resorts and hotels offer concierge services that can be far more conducive to seeing a city. These services are generally well connected and available all the time. If the local experience is an important part of visiting a city, guests should make sure to check with their host to make sure that he or she will be available.
Many hosts are clean, friendly and hospitable, but there is no guarantee of good customer service. While most hotels place great emphasis on hospitality and offer quality service, the same can not be said for owner-occupied properties. Facilities such as coffee pot, luggage racks, toiletries, television and private showers are often not available. If full service is a requirement, visitors are better placed to check into a bed and breakfast or local hotel.
Although there is certainly room in the hospitality market for owner-occupied housing, the national conversation about their disturbing potential is overwhelmed. Hotels will probably continue to be the standard in the coming years because of their convenience, reliability and commitment to hospitality.