Airbnb commissions study to understand Malaysians’ view on short-term rentals

Most Malaysians are in support of short-term rentals and see it as a way to generate additional income, according to a study commissioned by Airbnb. According to Airbnb, the study was done to gather public opinion of the company and the short-term rental industry, and use it as a resource to facilitate conversations amongst stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Findings show that about 89% of Malaysians support short-term rental and over 77% seeing short term rental as a way of earning additional income or starting their own business. According to a press release, Airbnb has seen half a billion guest arrivals all time, and this has allowed the host community to earn over US$65 billion by renting out their homes. Some 74% of Malaysians agree that Airbnb allows Malaysian entrepreneurs to kickstart their own business and be financially self-sufficient.

Airbnb’s head of public policy for Southeast Asia Mich Goh said, “The research reinforces that Malaysians want the choice of renting out their properties, in a respectful and responsible manner. They see that short term rental helps locals earn extra income and gives travellers greater and more affordable choice.”

Additionally, locals see Airbnb as a platform to grow tourism, with 70% of the respondents agreeing that the platform has attracted more long-term travellers. Also, 74% of Malaysians agree that Airbnb helps diversify tourism into neighbourhoods outside traditional tourist areas.

Call for national guidelines

Further, the research revealed that national guidelines are the preferred regulation method for the majority of respondents (50%), over other methods including building and community regulations (26%), and state and local regulations (24%). Guidance at the national level will help to  streamline regulatory efforts for the various states and benefit local Malaysians across the country.

In response, Goh said that the company will continue to work collaboratively with the Malaysia Productivity Corporation to develop fair new rules that would further empower locals, grow tourism, and strengthen local communities.

“It is clear that Malaysians want a clear and consistent national approach for short term rental regulations. Clear and sensible guidance at a national level streamlines regulatory efforts for the various states providing the host community greater clarity and certainty,” she added.

The survey polled 880 Malaysian respondents in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Sabah between 26 February and 6 March.

In November, Airbnb announced its collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysia Productivity Corporation to drive inclusive, sustainable development of tourism in Malaysia through healthy travel and hospitality entrepreneurship. The partnership focuses on promoting digital inclusion and empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs in Malaysia, while building capacity in both homes and experiences throughout the country.

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