Airbnb gives Paris luxury hoteliers a fright

Sun Aug 9, 2015 1:56pm EDT
 
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By Pascale Denis and Tommaso Mazzanti

PARIS (Reuters) - Nowhere in the world has more accommodation available on Airbnb than Paris. Now the home-sharing website that has transformed budget travel to the French capital is giving its super-deluxe hotels a fright too.

"The Paris market is going to get very difficult," said Didier le Calvez, managing director of the Bristol Hotel. Along with bosses of the city's other "palaces", he denounces Airbnb as a menace that enjoys an unfair advantage.

A trawl of the Paris region's 50,000 Airbnb offerings - there were only 7,000 across the whole of France in 2012 -suggests le Calvez and his colleagues have reason to worry.

Airbnb offers between 380 and 400 Paris properties at over 500 euros a night. Of those, about 40 charge over 1,000 euros ($1,090).

Add in the attraction of individuality, anonymity and in some cases extra beds, and that puts them potentially in competition with the 1,000 euro a night Bristol and half a dozen other high-end Paris hotels, which have about 1,500 rooms to offer in total.

The Paris luxury sector is already worried about a surge in competition from newly opening hotels. Consultants JLL Hotels & Hospitality reckon that capacity will be 60 percent greater in 2018 than a decade earlier.

A downturn in visits from wealthy Russians and Brazilians as the economies there falter, and fears among U.S. visitors of rising anti-semitism in France, are also a factor.

  Continued...

 
An employee prepares breakfast in front of the Eiffel tower at the Parisian luxury hotel Le Plaza Athenee, France July 30, 2015. Nowhere in the world has more accommodation available on Airbnb than Paris. Now the home-sharing website that has transformed budget travel to the French capital is giving its super-deluxe hotels a fright too. Picture taken France July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe