MyBHA on STRA Regulations: Why Not Evolve Instead?
The Malaysian Budget and Business Hotels Association (MyBHA) represents the interests of budget hotels in Malaysia and works to promote the growth and development of the budget hotel industry. The association has recently shared its negative views on Airbnbs in Malaysia by calling for STRA regulations, an online marketplace for short-term rentals, blaming them for their plummeting sales. Despite the fact that the association recognizes that Airbnb could be a valuable addition to Malaysia’s tourism industry by attracting more tourists and boosting the economy, they are still crying out for government aid to make things fair.
I’ve already talked about the new regulations that were proposed end 2019 in my post in 2020 – here.
The association is also concerned about Airbnb’s impact on the budget hospitality industry. One of the main concerns is that they say, Airbnbs are not subject to the same regulations and taxes as hotels, giving them an unfair advantage. This can make it difficult for budget hotels to compete with the low rates offered by Airbnb hosts. Furthermore, many Airbnb hosts are not registered or licensed as hotels and have the same safety and quality standards as hotels. The association argues that it is not a target for tourists and may cause concern for travelers.
Another concern of the association is that Airbnb could contribute to an oversupply of accommodations in some areas, leading to lower room rates and lower occupancy rates for budget hotels. This can make it difficult for budget hotels to operate profitably and reduce the quality of service they provide.
Have we not heard these same cries before however?
It sounds so reminiscent of the early days of Grab and the taxi driver crying foul.
The same rhetoric is being applied here.
The question is why?
It is a concern of services by the customer on where they can get their best value for their money and if it is shifting away from budget hotels because there is a better alternative providing more value, the market is telling us all something – one option is failing to adapt and rise to meet the changes taking place in the industry.
Isn’t this the same reason Taxi services are now so much better than they were before? I’m sure we all don’t miss pulling a taxi over to tell them your location and then see them drive off because you didn’t agree to their off-meter rate or you didn’t happen to be going where they wanted to.
If you think about your last budget hotel experience and your last Airbnb experience, which one was better? Was it like your last taxi ride before Grab came into the picture?
I’m sure majority of us would have far better memories at our Airbnb, I certainly do.
If the rise of Airbnb and Grab are paving the way for better customer experiences another option for inbound travelers into the country, it needs to be seen as something that is good. Old ways of business need to evolve and adapt to meet these new challenges in everyone’s favourite new-normal.
Why not say, “What can we do better?”, “Why are more young people keen on Airbnbs instead?”, “What can we offer to be more competitive?”. “What have guests been saying about my hotel?”
Stop thinking like a dinosaur and remember how it was when you were the radical, fighting to build your business. Look within and let the answers reveal themselves to you. Evolve and bring something new to the table. Budget hotels still do exist around the world just like Taxis. There’s enough market share for us all so long as we just keep striving to all do better for our guests.
Airbnb has revolutionized the way people travel, creating a platform that allows people to experience local
cultures and communities in unique and authentic ways. Ensuring the continued operation of Airbnb in Malaysia is a great way to boost tourism in 2023. Here are some reasons:
More lodging options: Airbnb offers lodging alternatives to traditional hotels and resorts. This allows tourists to choose from more options and cater to a wider range of budgets. This increased diversity of accommodation can attract more tourists to Malaysia.
Cheap: Airbnbs are usually cheaper than hotels or match prices close to budget travelers. This is especially attractive to the younger market, who are most likely to use Airbnb and not want to stay in a budget hotel.
Engage with locals: Airbnb gives visitors the chance to live like a local and promotes engagement with local communities. This provides tourists with a more authentic travel experience and promotes local culture and traditions.
Boosting the local economy: Enabling Airbnb to operate in Malaysia also boosts the local economy. Airbnb hosts are often locals who benefit from the extra income they earn by renting out their properties. This will also increase employment for local residents, such as cleaners, maintenance workers, hospitality graduates and property managers.
Greater flexibility: Airbnb hosts have the flexibility to set their own rates and availability so they can adapt to market conditions and maximize profits. This allows us to offer our guests a more personalized and unique experience.
More Inbound Tourists: Airbnb is a great way to boost Malaysian tourists. Increasing the available accommodation options can attract more tourists to Malaysia. This will also be a platform for local hosts to share their culture and lifestyle with tourists.
I believe many of us are just getting back on our feet and still trying to recover from the past two years and that we are also entering a new period of recession, we should not be penalising those who are innovating and adapting to create businesses that provide new experiences for tourists in Malaysia and jobs for Malaysians. I believe all operators welcome some form of regulations so that the industry standard can improve but nobody wants anything that would impose heavy uncecessary operational expenses simply to favour budget hotels. I would hope that the new government under DSAI does not simply accede to these petty cries from people who are providing sub-standard services and refusing to admit that the first place to look when things aren’t going right, should always be – in the mirror.