Airbnb is Taking off in the Swiss Mountains!
Over the past two years, Switzerland has become one of Airbnb’s fastest growing markets. With 80,000 beds available on the site, it has increased by 66% since June last year but its not the cities where we are finding the beds – it’s the Alps.
Where are all the New Beds?
The cantons of Valais, Bern & Graubünden, home to the majority of Switzerland’s famous ski resorts account for over half of all AirBnb beds in the country. As popular destinations for holiday makers, it may not come as a surprise for most, but the scale and projected further growth is striking. Of the 80,000 beds in Switzerland, more than 20,000 of them are found in the canton of Valais, where world famous resorts such as Verbier, Zermatt and Saas Fee are found. Changing the way people holiday, between hotels & Airbnb, Airbnb beds now make up 76% of the total number of holiday beds in the Valais. The town of Bagnes, close to the royal-favourite resort of Verbier has the most beds on offer with 3500 beds (compared to the 1500 on offer from hotels). Zermatt and Annivers come in second and third place.
Will Airbnb Continue to Grow?
Switzerland has always had a strong holiday market and this isn’t set to change anytime soon. Reporter Roland Schegg for newspaper Nordwestscheiz has stated that “in the cities, Airbnb has little potential for growth as the pressure from the primary housing market is high. In the mountains on the other hand, the boom will continue as there are many apartments”. So whilst there is a lack of accommodation availability in the cities causing a stagnating market, regions such as the Valais have a huge number of second homes that sit unused for much of the year. As owners recognise the demand for accommodation, it is expected that they will rent out these second homes for income rather than just having them sitting empty.
Are there Any Concerns?
In the past, Airbnb has come under criticism for bypassing local tax laws, and as of yet it is not regulated in Switzerland. We have to expect that sooner rather than later they will begin to implement tax payment schemes. We have seen a similar thing in France where the Airbnb guests have had to absorb the cost with a small add-on in the payment process.
Another consideration is the effect on local residents looking for year-round rental accommodation. French and American ski resorts have seen a sharp increase in average year-round rental prices for local residents as people snap up homes for the sole purpose of renting them out on Airbnb. As Airbnb lets in Switzerland are primarily current owners of second-homes, this is unlikely to affect the communities in the very near future but it could become an issue as the popularity of Airbnb increases.
Switzerland is a notoriously pricey country, and Airbnb is providing a fantastic platform to make the Swiss skiing experience a more affordable one for everyone.
Currently, the average price of a bed on Airbnb in these alpine towns is around CHF 70, significantly cheaper than a standard hotel room which comes in at CHF 200. With the Alps remaining one of the worlds most popular destinations, the demand for accommodation such as Airbnb is only going to increase, making a Swiss ski home the ideal investment for those who love to spend their time in the mountains.
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