Date
15 December 2017
People often book on Airbnb and never show up. A Hong Kong hostel operator is hoping the global lodging website can address the problem.  Photo:  Bloomberg
People often book on Airbnb and never show up. A Hong Kong hostel operator is hoping the global lodging website can address the problem. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong hostels warming to Airbnb

Although the legality of Airbnb remains in dispute in Hong Kong, some operators have been making the most of the online lodging booking site and deciding to deal with compliance issues later.

“Sixty percent of our business comes from Airbnb. Lots of mainland visitors booked us through the site during the recent October ‘golden week’ holiday,” hostel owner Spencer told the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Spencer’s newly opened hostel mainly caters to backpackers. His customers come from everywhere including China and other Asian countries, as well as Europe and South America.

“Airbnb is easy to use, allowing travelers to search for lodging with a wide range of criteria. Its bigger photos with higher resolution is another big plus,” he said.

Spencer also uses other booking websites such as book.com and Hostelworld.com.

To build relationships with his Airbnb clients, Spencer uses its proprietary instant messaging service to recommend must-go places near his hostel and also dining options.

For the healthy development of hostels relying on Airbnb in the long run, Spencer hopes the global website can work with the Hong Kong government on a proper regulatory framework and clearly define the liability of hostel operators.

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RA

EJ Insight writer

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