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Airbnb growing at 'breakneck' speed in the UK

London listings surpass 31,500, while hotel room numbers tally 141,500 in 2015, says PwC
08/12/2015

PwC's UK Hotels leader Sam Ward presented the 2016 forecast at the unveiling of the new-look Amba Hotel Marble Arch

The sharing economy is infiltrating UK accommodation providers at "breakneck" speed, as Airbnb listings in London pass 31,500.


The UK Hotels Forecast 2016 from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reveals more shared platforms are being used across different generations, not just Millennials, with increasing usage for business travellers.


The update was presented by PwC UK Hotels leader Samantha Ward, at the reopening of Amba Hotel in Marble Arch following a multi-million pound renovation.


PwC said there are more hotel listings, counting 141,500 rooms in London, but said the growth of Airbnb options could negatively impact hoteliers.


"While there is fewer than the number hotel rooms also available, Airbnb is growing at breakneck pace," the report says.


"This trend is likely to continue and cause localised issues for hotels, around pricing pressure and/or underutilisation, especially for undifferentiated products. Such an impact is likely to be felt more strongly by hotels in a downturn."


Ward said in 2015 hotel numbers would have grown by 5 per cent while Airbnb would have exploded 100 per cent.


"Given it (Airbnb) is such a young supply it's huge in comparison," she said.


"Airbnb is a significant source (of accommodation) … it's definitely one to watch."


PwC predicts that 16,000 new rooms will open across the UK in 2016, while 38,000 rooms are in the pipeline to 2017.


The forecasts are similar to ones from London & Partners and CBRE, who predicted a significant number of hotel openings in the next three years, with 12 per cent growth in London to 2018.


Buyers and media were invited to the reopening of Amba Hotel Marble Arch on Monday evening, where their meal was paired with wines from Kent-based winery Chapel Down.


Amba Hotels brand CEO Belinda Atkins said the extensive renovations had been a "labour of love", which were planned following extensive research with guests.


The hotel has also invested heavily in technology, introducing virtual reality headsets to give 3D tours of the premise, as well as installing iPads in rooms, easily-accessed power sockets and high speed, free Wi-Fi.


"It's got to be what the guest wants," she said.


"Our renovations were all planned based on research., which is the critical point of difference."


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