Thanks to AirBNB, owners improvise themselves butlers

In Strasbourg, a few multi-owners decide to use tourism platforms such as AirBNB or Booking to rent their furnished accommodation. Activity has largely slowed down with the Covid, but remains profitable. Particularly for restaurateurs, who benefit from exemptions.

Anne Bazille’s building, at the corner of rue Kuhn, is lively. Between the medical analysis laboratory on the ground floor and the two private doctor’s offices, the retiree sees people pass by. Far from disturbing her, since she lives on the top floor, she still asks herself the question for one of the “discreet” co-owners of her building, who has a 175m² apartment on the first floor as well as the laundry room downstairs. -ground.

Its activity is announced at the front door: an engraved plaque provides information on the accommodation rented via AirBNB. “Le Gabriel” is presented as a complex of five “independent accommodation” rated three stars. Ranging from 100 to 120 euros per night, the rooms in the apartment are bookable in the same way as hotel rooms. Its owner, Bacel Sarrouge, bought this apartment eight years ago and says it continues to reimburse it, up to “30,000 euros per year”.

Furnished apartments empty of tourists during the Covid

He who recorded a turnover of 100,000 euros before the pandemic, found himself with a big deficit in 2020:

“We had assistance from the solidarity fund to compensate for the shortfall, that made us 40,000 to 50,000 euros, as in good years. But this is a pseudo turnover, since in reality the reservations brought me around 3000 euros. Anyway my wife works, I consider that it is for retirement that I rent this apartment ”

“Le Gabriel” is a 175 m² apartment rented in several parts on AirBNB. Photo: Danae Corte / Rue89 Strasbourg

As we explained in the first section on AirBNBs in Strasbourg, the number of furnished tourist accommodation fell from 3,192 to 1,785 between January 2019 and December 2021, with a drop of 22% in 2020 compared to the previous year. According to site data AirDNA, their average price was 107.9 euros in November 2021.

Less activity in 2020

According to our estimate calculated from the occupancy rates (i.e. the number of days rented in the month per accommodation offered on the AirBNB and Vrbo platforms, Editor’s note) for the year 2020 in Strasbourg, the accommodation has been reserved on average 13.6 days per month between January and November that year. That is four days less than in 2019. In November 2021, these rates drop to 16.9 reserved days.

Then back to normal

A trend that corresponds well to the experience of Dominique Klein. He set up an SARL to manage his eight homes on the Grand’Rue artery in Strasbourg as a family. During confinement, for lack of reservations, he decided to lend his AirBNBs to the hospital to accommodate doctors. Its reservations have since picked up again:

“My homes are almost all full since the start of the month of September. My network is mainly in the world of culture. I have been a show manager, so I host actors a lot.”

Its accommodations are rented from 85 to 200 euros per night (or even 250 during the Christmas market), with a minimum of three nights per reservation. By calculating the average price per night of the eight apartments on offer, one accommodation can bring in 1037.5 euros per month, according to our estimates.

Rents “20 to 25%” more profitable than traditional rental

On tourism rental platforms, there are a few owners who rent out several units simultaneously through a rental company. Some go directly through specialized concierge services that take care of the logistics. Simon Ehrenreich is president of the Cotoon specialist agency in Colmar. He explains :

“We take care of the promotion of housing, reception and cleaning, against a commission of 21% all taxes included. This type of rental brings on average 20 to 25% more than for conventional rental in our agency . But owners are not only interested in this: it is also more flexible and there is no risk of bad debts. “

The agency manager qualifies these profits a little:

“We must also take into account charges such as water, electricity or wifi which are paid by the owner and not by the tenant. Last year, with the Covid, some owners did not have a rental before July. With the charges, the income of one of my owners is around a third of the total turnover “.

Unfair competition, according to hoteliers

The fact remains that, in the central district where Dominique Klein rents his eight furnished tourist accommodation, the price per square meter is estimated at 18 euros on the rental site. For the cheapest furnished tourist accommodation in its building, the square meter comes to 98 euros, according to our estimate.

For Christophe Weber, director of the Union des Métiers et des Industries de l’Hôtellerie (UMIH) of Bas-Rhin, renting furnished tourist accommodation also allows you to avoid certain charges and regulations specific to the hotel industry:

“The law says that above five rooms, I am a hotel. So you need a smoke evacuation system, an SCI (Central Fire System), a night concierge and there are a whole bunch of criteria. and controls which increase the charges. By renting by drawers (so several rooms in an apartment), one is not supposed to have several rooms rented at the same time. It is unfair competition in the event that it functions as a hotel . “

One owner, seven homes in AirBNB

Dominica is not the only one to have the equivalent of a residence filled with tourist accommodation. Franck Meunier, a multi-restaurateur known in Strasbourg for its 15 bars and restaurants, offers on the AirBNB platform alone a catalog of seven accommodations he is host, all located in different places in the city center. Four of them are in two buildings on the Grand’Rue, near its bar Le Troquet des Kneckes. It also has two apartments on rue du Faisan, and another next to its Bar des Aviateurs. These accommodations are managed directly by his property rental SARL Les apparts des Kneckes.

The restaurateur is also co-host of 15 accommodation units. According to AirBNB, this status helps owners manage accommodation and travelers, for a fee. The restaurateur tells us “not to earn money” on this “aid” activity, without wishing to say more.

Among the apartments he co-hosts, there are two apartments above the Aedaen, an artistic center on rue des Aveugles in Strasbourg. Its owner, Patrick Adler, also says he does not know how the rentals go: it is the employees of his rental company 45 A Main Street who manage.

1641792536 237 Thanks to AirBNB owners improvise themselves butlers
The Aedaen Place, managed by Patrick Adler, offers two apartments on AirBNB above the bar-restaurant. Photo: Danae Corte / Rue89 Strasbourg

More profitable rents

We did the math using data from the AirDNA data manager. The average price for a night is 92.6 euros and apartments were booked on average 16.8 days in the month, over the first 11 months of 2021 in Strasbourg. These figures allow us to estimate that an apartment could generate 1,555.68 euros per month on average for owners of furnished tourist accommodation. This estimate is calculated without counting the daily tourist tax levied by the platform and donated to the town hall, since this is usually taken from the customer when booking. It does not take into account the charges related to companies.

For the example of Franck Meunier, with an average daily price of 95.71 euros and accommodation in the city center, this amount can rise to 1607.9 euros per month, still according to our estimate. While in Strasbourg, the average monthly rent for the rental of a furnished two-room apartment is 744 euros, depending on the rental site This substantial margin is not the main motivation according to the restaurateur:

“It is not with this activity that we make profits, it is not our core business. Tourist rentals are also a way to avoid disturbing tenants. The people who rent with AirBNB are not the same as in a classic rental, the noise bothers them less ”

No limit for restaurateurs

For multi-owners who rent their furnished accommodation in Strasbourg above their bar-restaurant, no restriction applies to the number of apartments owned. In fact, the regulations want that in the same building, the surface available for traditional housing is not less than 60%. This rule does not apply in the case of “installation of business premises above a bar-restaurant or any activity generating noise pollution during night hours (sic)”.

In other words, tourist rentals installed above a bar-restaurant (as is the case with Franck Meunier or Patrick Adler) are not subject to any real limitation of size or number. The same goes for the compensation system (for each authorization to change status, accommodation of equivalent size and quality must be provided in the same district for conventional rental, from the second accommodation per person. physical, Editor’s note).

Suzanne Brolly, vice-president in charge of housing at the Eurometropolis, justifies:

“The objective of the rule concerning premises above a bar-restaurant or an activity generating noise disturbance is to favor activity premises rather than accommodation. The objective is to allow a compatible activity. with the nuisances, no furnished tourist accommodation “

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Thanks to AirBNB, owners improvise themselves butlers