Hotels have experienced strong growth since 2008, but alternative accommodations like Airbnb and HomeAway have been chipping away at their market. Phocuswright projects private accommodation bookings will grow from 12% to 16% of total bookings this year. The trouble is that the amount of pressure being felt within the hotel industry to adapt doesn't meet the danger that faces them. This is the opening that vacation rentals are exploiting. The response to the rise in vacation rentals falls into two extremes: denial and alarm. The denialists argue that vacation rental companies like Airbnb serve a different customer — someone hungry for local flavor and authentic experiences that can be achieved by renting an extra room in a home or apartment. However, the majority of bookings are with hosts who offer more than one listing, essentially running unlicensed hotels. Plus, travelers are predominantly looking for entire homes or apartments. And, while Airbnb brags about its hosts as a major differentiator in the crowded travel accommodation marketplace, the most likely scenario is that the host and guest never meet in-person, creating an experience similar to a hotel without a front desk. The alarmists correctly point out that vacation rentals are barely regulated, taxed or scrutinized compared to hotels, similar to what the delivery industry faces from Uber and Lyft. While hotels enjoy advantages like prime locations, often more desirable than the residential properties of vacation rentals, they are often outweighed by regulatory forces. In this case, the location may be outweighed by the at least 15% price advantage of not having to pay an occupancy tax, a notable revenue stream for cities, helping them build and maintain communities around these tourist destinations. A benefit of Airbnb's significant lobbying investments. Not only does the concept of Airbnb being a mom and pop home sharing site no longer hold true, communities are losing out on funding that directly translates into economic development. Get the full story at Hotel-Online Read also "Airbnb ad campaign invites hotels to reduce OTA reliance"