Tourists say motel mark ups are turning them to Airbnb

Tim Canny from Sovereign Park Motor Inn. Picture Luka Kauzlaric
Tim Canny from Sovereign Park Motor Inn. Picture Luka Kauzlaric

Hotel and motel chains need to move with the times or run the risk of being “uber’d” say tourists.

And they say price mark-ups at traditional accommodation providers for major events, such as this Saturday’s white night, are only turning more people to websites like Airbnb to look for a cheaper deal.

Last weekend The Courier reported on motel operator concerns that people were potentially putting their lives at risk by staying in unregulated accommodation. 

But tourists, including Warragul’s Alan Bell, said it was up to local operators to move with the times.

“Airbnb works well all round the world and will not be going away so local motel owners may have to adjust their marketing and business operations,” Mr Bell wrote on the Courier’s Facebook page. 

“It is a new game with new rules in which all are able to play.”

Rodney Carter agreed saying he would a choose a motel if he could afford it. 

“You hike your prices on weekends and special events making it impossible to afford the holiday,” he said. 

“I know I’m struggling with the day-to-day cost of living so I'm going to try and save a few dollars at every chance I can.”

Airbnb is believed to have more than 500 properties listed in Ballarat. It has just a seven per cent vacancy rate for White Night with rates available from $81 for one bedroom in Alfredton to a $232 cottage in Creswick.

Tim Canny from four-and-a-half star Sovereign Park Motor Inn, who raised his concerns about the dangers of websites like Airbnb at the weekend, said major events always meant extra overheads such as more staff hours, which meant more wages.

He said a regular double room had risen from $160 to $230 for Saturday night and family rooms which can sleep up to five people were going for $350, when normally they would be $280.

“Across the board it’s about $60-$70 more,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we probably will fill up at the weekend.

“But for us the big issue is the shoulder season where its becoming difficult for us to maintain that 60-70 per cent occupancy we need.”