Short-term Rentals: EU Decision on Data Sharing Aimed at ‘Balanced Tourism Ecosystem’
In efforts to ensure a fair playing ground for hospitality providers, the ministers for competitiveness in the EU agreed this week on a harmonized approach to data collection and sharing for short-term accommodation rental activity.
The new regulation, which will apply to online holiday rental platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Vrbo, comes after the Commission published its proposed regulation on accommodation services last November and is aimed at promoting a “balanced tourism ecosystem”, the Council said.
“This regulation will benefit players of the short-term accommodation rental segment alike: hosts will have an easy registration procedure, platforms will have a single set of rules for the information they have to provide, travelers will be better protected against fraud and authorities will be able to regulate based on accurate and reliable data,” said Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Ebba Busch, who also serves as energy minister.
The Council also proposed the creation of a data collection and sharing framework at EU level and included provisions to better take into account the registration systems that are already in place in the member states.
Under the new rules, EU states that require data from platforms will be required to set up a national ‘single digital entry point‘ for the transmission of data between online short-term rental platforms and public authorities.
Based on this, every property listed for rent for a limited number of days per year will be required to have a registration number so that the competent authorities can know the identity of the ‘host’.
The online platforms will also be required to make regular random checks to verify that there are no incorrect declarations of hosts or invalid registration numbers.
The treatment of all the information will have to be compliant with European data protection rules.
The aim, the Council statement said, is to cut red tape and costs for hosts and platforms while providing authorities with the information they need to regulate short-term rental activity.
This will also create a level playing field with other actors of the tourism sector including hotels, hostels or aparthotels and help combat fraud, said the statement.
Additionally, EU states will have to provide the necessary information – such as registration procedures and requirements concerning access to, and provision of, these services – to allow public authorities, online platforms, hosts and citizens to understand the laws and requirements relating to the provision of short-term accommodation rental services within their territory.
Following the agreement, the Council presidency can start negotiations with the European Parliament.