Think local, act local 

We hear a lot of chuntering on about community in this, well, community. Lots of panels about placemaking, thinking about how to lure locals into the reception area, mutterings about how guests stay in locations, not brands. 

And there has been some progress in this. A hotel in Paris with a painting of the Eiffel Tower behind reception was spotted only the other day. But this doesn’t help with the issue of how to make hotels welcome in communities, how to persuade local people that they are anything else than providers of beds to strangers and casual work to students. 

This may be somewhere the battle to regulate Airbnb can help. In countries such as the UK, The Great Rule of Law comes from London and that’s that. Some communities take this better than others. In the New Forest, for example, it is rare to see an agriculture minister visiting from the Big Smoke, unless they have a passion for having horse faeces flung their way. 

For all the talk of the role of communities and how wonderful and unique they can be, it is rare for them to be given any power. Which is odd, given that they are the ones who know the local area and have a better idea of what is needed, faeces flinging aside.

Looking at the issues facing what to do with Airbnb, most of these may be better placed to be dealt with in town planning, not regulation from on high. It’s about having zones, so residents aren’t plagued by party houses. It’s not really about health and safety or other central concerns – thanks to building regulations and whatnot, it’s pretty unusual to have a house which presents an actual danger to life.

If you put the decision over what home sharing to have and where in the hands of the community, you are more likely to find a balance which people want and can live with – with the added bonus of accountability through bumping into the offending local lawmaker at the supermarket.

The hotel sector will tell you that town planning is a hot bed of maniacs hungry for power where they can find it, and this is true. Hotels must find a way to become more appealing – groups such as Travelodge work hard to push the benefits they bring to the local community  – to overcome this.

But for home sharing, which likes to make a big deal of how it is based in the very community itself, should this be a local, rather than national matter? And would this mean a reduction in the number of professional hosts, who have been so angering Tik Tok users? 

Power to the people. 

Scroll to Top