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来源:中国文化和旅游产业研究院 日期:2021-06-02 浏览次数: 字号:[ ]

New housing rental policy is good for the development of tourism and housing industry

"Encourage individuals to rent out their own houses in accordance with the law" is both a challenge and an opportunity. To avoid the impact it may bring in the short term and carry on its long-term benefits for optimizing the structure of the industry and meeting the various needs of the market is a new topic which the tourism industry needs to study.

The recent executive meeting of the State Council proposed to develop the housing rental market, support to use built or newly built houses to carry out rental business, encourage individuals to rent out their own houses in accordance with the law, and allow commercial houses to be converted into rental houses in accordance with regulations. This is a powerful measure with the idea of developing a sharing economy and using the hands of the market to solve the problem of urban housing. Obviously, this new policy of the State Council is not specially made for tourism housing, but it has a certain relationship with tourism accommodation.

I believes that “encouraging individuals to rent out their own houses in accordance with the law” proposed by this meeting should also include individuals renting out their own houses to tourists in accordance with the law as residences. This has opened a door for short-term housing rental that has emerged in foreign countries and started in China. Although laws and regulations to open this "door" are temporarily lacking and policies of it are not yet clear, the general direction has been set.

Not long ago, my family and I traveled to Taiwan and ordered a homestay in Taoyuan’s Daxi ancient town through Airbnb.We stayed in it exclusively for two nights and experienced the feeling of a "mobile home". After returning to Beijing, I commented on the location, environment, facilities and services of the homestay on the Airbnb website: “It is suitable for families and friends to take a relaxing vacation. The rooms are affordable with great value, making it an ideal place to stay.” The owner of the homestay also commented: “Mr. Wang’s family is very kind and friendly. They keep the guest rooms very tidy, and they are also very happy to communicate and share with each other’s lives. They also gave me a lot of encouragement and praise. They are not afraid of the cold and wind to go out to experience the history and culture of Daxi town and fit into the local circle well. He highly recommended Mr. Wang as a good guest, and said that if Mr. Wang chooses your homestay, please immediately agree to his reservation.” The Airbnb website also sent a text message: “We will give your recommended friends a discount of 263 yuan for their first Airbnb trip, and you will receive a travel fund of up to 756 yuan.” My experience is a typical case of the sharing economy, that is to say, the interaction among consumers, operators and platform e-commerce, which will help to build a mutual-trust business relationship under the contractual relationship and achieve a win-win situation for the three parties.

At present, the network that bridges the supply and demand of short-term room rentals has already existed abroad, such as Airbnb, HouseTrip, and Wimdu. In China, such "short-term rental houses" have different names, such as "mobile apartments", "self-service apartments", "daily rental houses", and "non-standard accommodations". Although the connotations and extensions of these names are different, the essence is the same, that is the short-term rental houses for tourists.  With online platforms such as Xiaozhu Short-term Rental, Tujia, and Ant Short-term Rental who run this business. For Tourists, they can find their favorite guest rooms at a lower price, enjoy the feeling of "home" during the journey, communicate with the owners, and get real information about transportation, tour, food, shopping, and entertainment from the owners; for the owners, they can temporarily rent out idle or surplus houses for remuneration; for platform operators, it is an unprecedentedly huge business opportunity. Airbnb, founded by two young Americans in 2008, has a current valuation of US$24 billion; for the society, it can make full use of idle real estate resources to increase supply, meet demand, and achieve sustainable development. Benefiting the people, businesses, and the country, it can be described as win-win measure for all.

At present and in the next few years, China's tourism accommodation industry, whether high-end restaurants or economical hotels, are in a state of oversupply. If short-term rental of "personal-owned houses" enters the accommodation market, it will undoubtedly increase the supply in the short term. However, it is not wise to restrict and prevent the entry of “personal-owned houses” to “protect” the hotel industry, and it is just as ineffective as the car rental industry cannot stop Uber and Didi Chuxing. How industry insiders, including high-end, middle-end and low-end hotels, can improve their internal skills, subdivide their customers, promote their own strengths, avoid their own shortcomings, and dislocate their operations with short-term rental houses is the right way to turn crisis into safety and seek opportunity in crisis .In the long run, the tourist accommodation market is as big as the vast ocean, enough to allow aircraft carriers and small sampans to sail their own ways and sail together.

As far as the government is concerned, learn from foreign practices, track and summarize the current short-term rental housing market in China in a timely manner, study and formulate relevant laws, regulations, and policy measures, such as access conditions, approval procedures, operating standards, tax management, and safety and health standards, etc., to supervise and regulate this new form of tourism in the development and regulation.

There are some foreign cases in this regard that can be used for references. In February 2014, Amsterdam of Netherlands became the first city to pass a convenient and practical Airbnb legislation. In October 2014, San Francisco of the United States introduced a law for permanent residents to rent out their own homes for short-term. London of UK abolished regulations restricting short-term rentals, making it easier for Airbnb and similar companies to settle in the city. And China can also take the lead in the provinces and cities where conditions and needs are available, such as Hainan Province and Shandong Peninsula. In this regard, the government and the market should coordinate and divide each other’s work, and the government should not dislocate, offside, and out of position in particular.

For the industry, it should establish the Chamber of Commerce of Short-term Rental Accommodation Industry in a timely and initiative manner to gradually accumulate experience in their respective operations, learn from the existing "non-standard accommodation industry" business methods, and formulate trial-based facility standards, service standards and quality levels standards, etc., through humanized value-added services to provide tourists with more homely convenience and warmth. On the basis of the rule of law, contracts and regulations, the industry should gradually establish a self-reliant and self-disciplined order to avoid the "barbaric growth" and self-destructive future of this new business.

For the academic community, it should intervene in this new format that conforms to the trend of the sharing economy and fits the innovation trajectory of "mutual alliance + residence" in the first place, closely cooperate with the creators and managers of this format, and learn from international cases and local experience, explore the development law of the short-term rental housing website’s "O2O" business service model, and study the legal framework, policy system, operating norms and safety system in this economic mode which links the government, tenants, platforms, homeowners, e-finance, third-party supervision, taxation, insurance, credit investigation that are well-connected and provide support for tenants’ consumption, plans for government’s decision-making, and suggestions for the operation of enterprises.

"Encourage individuals to rent out their own houses in accordance with the law" is both a challenge and an opportunity. Avoiding the impact it may bring in the short term and accepting its long-term benefits for optimizing the structure of the industry and meeting the diverse needs of the market is a new topic that should be studied by the tourism community.


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