Malta has continued to experience growth in the short-let accommodation sector. This sector principally caters for holiday-makers, business travellers and students attending short-term study courses. The launch of websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway has enabled anyone with basic IT skills and an internet connection to browse worldwide locations for their prospective travels. This ease of access to a vast array of international accommodation possibilities places the local property-owners under pressure to ensure that they offer accommodation that is comfortable, attractive and at a competitive price.
The properties offered for short-let accommodation are regulated by the relative licences issued by the Malta Tourism Authority. In the process of complying with the requirements of such licences, the property-owners are actually directed to meeting, and preferably exceeding, the expectations of potential visitors. These properties provide travellers with the opportunity to experience the island culture in a way that is otherwise unattainable. Maltese property-owners have embraced these new booking platforms and, with typical Mediterranean hospitality, eagerly await the arrival of their guests to share the local community, sights and sounds.
The tourist-type utilising short-let accommodation falls into various categories, such as those who are looking to experience Malta from a local’s perspective, including visiting the neighbourhood grocer for essential daily foodstuffs while rubbing shoulders with locals carrying out errands. Other visitors prefer to avoid hotels and increase their spending power to dine at restaurants. Some visitors seek accommodation that provides the privacy and that “home” feeling, where a travelling family can share meals, common facilities and space as they would back home.
Maltese legislation in this sector is amongst the most advanced in the global sphere for both host-family and short-let accommodation. With respect to hosting in one’s home, the legislative foundations were built on the experience of hosting English language students. In relation to short-let accommodation, property-owners are provided guidelines to ensure that the property meets the established regulatory requirements.
The supply of appropriate short-let accommodation, increasing hotel beds, and the extensive airline connections are all contributing factors in Malta’s success in achieving new records in overall tourist arrivals.
The majority of the short-let accommodation providers are private individuals, not corporate entities, who have placed their hard-earned savings into a property investment, and seek an honest return on their investment. These individuals want to protect their investment. This means that they strive to provide their guests with a true Maltese experience – an enjoyable, relaxed holiday in comfortable surroundings. The commitments of providing such accommodation are plenty; from being on call to answer a guest’s requests such as the location of the nearest restaurant, pharmacy, grocer and bus stop, to handling a power outage in the middle of the night.
The property-owners do it willingly as they seek to enhance visitor satisfaction and provide their visitors with a value-for-money experience. This is a key component, rather than simply price competition, to achieve those coveted five-star peer reviews as they operate, and compete, in this internet-based sharing economy.
Tony Zahra, the president of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, “was commenting in the wake of fresh data showing that 20 per cent of those aged between 16 and 74 sought accommodation offered by private individuals using a website or an application.” Read more …
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