Presentation by Janelle Leslie, B.Sc. and Giselle Waight, M.Sc. at the 2nd Belize National Research Conference, 2019.
Online accommodation platform, Airbnb, has revolutionized consumption in the hospitality industry, causing policymakers and stakeholders to question the impact of this innovation on the traditional accommodation industry. In Belize, increasing tourist arrivals but lower hotel occupancy rates have triggered an urgent interest in exploring the extent of Airbnb’s presence in the accommodation marketplace and the magnitude of the effect it is having on traditional hotels. This study uses spatial analysis techniques to conduct a location pattern analysis of Airbnb rentals and traditional hotels in Belize. Univariate and bivariate spatial autocorrelation revealed that there exists a close spatial relationship between Airbnb rentals and traditional hotels, with both categories of accommodations concentrated in main tourist areas. The impact of Airbnb listings on hotel revenue is then examined using a panel regression model with fixed effects. The findings reveal that overall Airbnb rentals have a positive but statistically insignificant effect on total hotel revenue. However, when disaggregated by quintile groups, the relationship differs and results indicate that Airbnb rentals tend to compete more directly with lower-end hotels. The outcome of this study has the potential to inform travelers, hoteliers, and policy makers about the macroeconomic impact of alternative accommodation facilities in Belize.
Key words: overnight tourism, hospitality industry, travelers, tourists