"Airbnb's Just A Pain For Boutique Operators"

The Sandpiper Inn, Abaco, owned by Dr Keenan Carroll.

The Sandpiper Inn, Abaco, owned by Dr Keenan Carroll.

By Natario McKenzie

Tribune Business Reporter


AIRBNB has become a "proverbial pain in the butt" for boutique resort operators, the Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board's (BOIPB) president said yesterday.

Dr Keenan Larry Carroll, owner of the Sandpiper Inn, said: "Airbnb is a vexing problem that we in the hotel business are trying to address. It's all well and good when the smaller individuals have a room that they can rent and Airbnb says it can rent it for them. The good thing is they can get some income on the side. If you extrapolate that to the max you have foreign second home owners who are building five and six homes in a settlement and setting them up as Airbnbs. If a guy has four four bedroom homes that's 16 rooms. I have a seven bedroom boutique hotel; he has already outclassed me by 100 percent. He has no staff, doesn't have to go through any inspections or certifications, and no inspections for insurance. All of these things go untouched yet my boutique has to meet the fire code etc."

Dr Carroll was speaking at a press conference to announce the 16th annual Abaco Business Outlook, slated for September 5.

He continued: "Airbnb is a proverbial pain. It's not only in The Bahamas but it's around the world. Airbnb gets a commission off your room. If they say your commission is 20 percent then from your $100 room, $20 goes to Airbnb. They don't guarantee anything, aren't liable for anything and everyone is laughing all the way to the bank except we, the people in The Bahamas."

During the 2019/2020 budget communication back in May, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter noted the growth in the vacation home rental market has attracted the government's attention for several reasons.

All online marketplaces that advertise and facilitate vacation rentals in The Bahamas will now be required to pay VAT on their rental and related sales in The Bahamas. Thus, companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and all such marketplaces with short-term rentals in The Bahamas will be required to pay VAT.

Edwin Mulford, a long-time Cat Island boutique resort operator, has argued however that requiring online marketplaces to pay VAT on their rentals and related sales may only capture half the bookings that involve The Bahamas.


DDK 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"Airbnb's Just A Pain For The Neighbours As Well" In fact, some communities in North America and Europe have banned them! Fancy having a steady stream of unknown, ever-changing "neighbours" in a local community? Is The Bahamas in fact finally receiving VAT from these "guests"


The_Oracle 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Blaming airBnB for local issues is missing the boat and point. If foreign investors are building houses to place on VRBO and AIRBnb you have an investment authority issue: the Policy is? The Law says? If Neighborhoods don't like them you have a covenant issue, or homeowners association issue. Boutique hotels have a market as does the house rental market, as does the Mega Resort. Look within your own strategy and adapt. This Protectionist position is finished, especially with WTO looming. We have two issues re visitors: Lack of rooms and lack of airlift. We aught to be maximizing all the above.


DDK 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Some of us have many rooms and much airlift! Points understood and taken. Just venting!


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