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News: Airbnb support firms want to offer credit notes not cash refunds

Mon, 18 May 20

The plethora of support companies around Airbnb and other short let platforms in the UK have told the government that it should “minimise limits” put on overseas visitors and allow firms to offer credit notes instead of refunds to consumers.

The UK Short Term Accommodation Association says it’s been in discussion with the government on how to bring the short lets sector back now that lockdown restrictions have been eased.

It claims that with the expected restrictions on international travel and possible quarantine provisions, the sector could be seeing only 25 per cent of its expected activity in the summer months.

It says that even after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme - all benefitting some elements of the sector - it needs more targeted interventions. 

Specifically the STAA wants:

1. Short Lets providers to be regarded as a stand-alone category to be included in current and future support schemes for the hospitality industry such as business rates holidays and grants;

2. UK law to be amended to allow providers to offer vouchers and credit notes instead of cash refunds;

3. Enabling more companies to participate in the Future Fund by lowering the investment threshold for eligibility;

4. Allow government grants and loans to benefit the sector’s private investors;

5. Minimising limits placed on international visitors by ensuring that travellers who have to self-isolate, during this period, have the option to book a home and that any limits are in place for as short a period as possible. 

“It’s imperative that more is done if we are not to see a complete collapse of many companies in a sector that provides so many jobs, has valuable supply chains and provides vital options for consumers in the UK’s tourist accommodation sector” claims Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA.

For those short-letting their home, and the companies that operate in the sector, the loss of both present and future income can be devastating and countless small entrepreneurs face going out of business, removing money from local economies” she says.

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