Homeowners in New Plymouth are catching on to the Airbnb phenomena as a safe and flexible option of renting their properties.
The online accommodation website is proving popular with travellers and is yet to have an affect on the rental market in the way it has in the likes of Auckland and Wellington.
In larger centres the website is affecting rental property stocks, as landlords turn their homes over to Airbnb management groups to make better money.
But Airbnb operator, and former real estate company owner, Joe Holden said in Taranaki most using the website were looking to cash in on the growing tourists numbers, renting their homes or rooms to short term guests rather than long term rentals.
Holden said the service gave the home owner confidence guests had been vetted beforehand.
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“People are getting on the Airbnb bandwagon,” he said.
Holden and his wife, Cherry, purposely built the extra room on their Gover St house to accommodate guests, or extended family.
“We have only just started using Airbnb after we decided it was a good site to go with because it is professional and the rentals were reasonable.
“We had stayed in Airbnb’s in Europe and we liked the idea.”
Holden, who previously owned a real estate company in New Plymouth, said Airbnb gave property owners more choices, security and flexibility than having a fixed term rental.
“Sometimes our family stay, and other times we have the choice of letting it to guests,” he said.
“I think a growth curve is occurring in New Plymouth where more and more people are opting to rent their spare room out on a short term basis.”
But in spite of more than 300 listings on Airbnb in New Plymouth and surrounding areas, not all landlords are joining the queue, a property manager said.
Bayleys Taranaki property manager Lynne Le Roux said there was still demand for long term rental properties.
“We’re not finding more landlords choosing to go with Airbnb more than normal rental arrangement,” she said.
“Many landlords who rent out property in New Plymouth and live outside of the region would find it difficult to manage an Airbnb rental where there are short term stays.
“It makes it more difficult to manage when you have a number of people staying for short periods of time and you are not there in person.
“If you are not living in the area you have to pay someone to manage the guest stays and this cuts into your income.”
Le Roux said there were plenty of rental properties available in New Plymouth, and as a result some rental prices had dropped, particularly in the executive margins.
Airbnb operator Paddy Rowe said the accommodation service provided a choice for people who did not want to stay in hotels or motels.
“Some people wanted a more personal touch to their holiday stay,” she said.
Rowe provided accommodation for up to 12 people in her Fitzroy house.
She said she had both short term and long term guests.
“We’ve had people who have stayed up to two months, while others will only stay 1-2 days.”
Airbnb is a chance to meet a wide variety of people from all over the world, she said.
“I’m retired, what else could I do and have as much fun doing it.”
Rowe said she would never rent the whole house.
“I like to think I have something pretty special.”