In Focus
HOTELS & TOURISM | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Hotels are getting the jitters from rental sharing

Visitors staying in hotels dropped to 60%.

Singapore's growing sharing economy is disrupting traditional accommodation businesses, Maybank Kim Eng revealed.

According to its research, the full impact of the sharing economy might not be fully grasped yet, due to businesses like rental portals uncaptured by official statistics and the tax net.

Rental portal Airbnb has a relatively small presence in Singapore, with 7,800 listings and each one hosting 39 a year.

Meanwhile, the share of overseas visitors who stayed in "other" accommodations like hostels, serviced apartments, or homestays rose to 20% in 2015, against the 18% in 2013-2014.

Maybank Kim Eng said rental portals are not as prevalent in Singapore as elsewhere due to strict regulations.

Whilst the Housing Development Board (HDB) banned renting out space in an HDB flat for less than six months, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) relaxed some rules later on in June.

Meanwhile, the hospitality sector has already dealt with some blows as the share of visitors in hotels fell to 60% in 2015 from 65% in 2013.

This is despite sharp surge in overall tourism receipts of +15% in Q1 this year. Visitor arrivals also grew 5% in Q2.

However, hotel room revenue has already fallen for three quarter since 4Q2016. Gross lettings also dipped 2.7% in Q2, the first quarterly decline in five years.

The share of visitors that stay in hotels also fell from 65% in 2013 to 60% in 2015.

In turn, accommodation receipts within 2011 to 2016 have seen the strongest growth of +6.1%, faster than the +4% increase in hotel room revenue.

"A growing proportion of accommodation receipts are probably captured in the home-sharing segment," Maybank Kim Eng analysts Chua Hak Bin and Lee Ju Ye said.

Hotel room occupancy rate remained weak with an 85% average in 1H, especially during the second half of 2016 compared to the past two years.

Occupancy rate in luxury hotels fell to a five-year low of 78.9% in May 2017.  

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