Thursday

23rd May 2019

Strasbourg plenary pushes up Airbnb demand

  • On Monday's of the plenary week, roller cases are a regular sight in Strasbourg. (Photo: Peter Teffer)

There is a clear correlation between the timing of the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg and usage of Airbnb by visitors from Brussels.

The European Parliament meets in Strasbourg for plenary sessions twelve times a year.

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  • There is a clear correlation between room rentals in Strasbourg by guests from Brussels and the EU parliament's Strasbourg session (click for enlargement of picture) (Photo: Airbnb)

“When it's the week of the parliament, all the hotels are full,” Strasbourg's vice-mayor, Alain Fontanel, told EUobserver.

Parliament staff have complained to Fontanel that hotels display significantly increased prices during "Strasbourg week".

This has led to some EU staffers to begin using Airbnb, an online platform which connects people who want to rent out their apartment or a room to those looking for accommodation.

"It is a good example of how Airbnb is helping destinations accommodate events by providing additional accommodation without the need for additional building projects, while supporting sustainable tourism and helping make efficient use of space," said Airbnb's Bernard D'heygere to EUobserver.​​

One Strasbourg-based Airbnb host, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he “regularly” hosts trainees from the parliament, who “can't afford the price of a classical hotel”.

EU parliament spokeswoman Marjory van den Broeke told EUobserver that the EU parliament has no overview of how many of its staff stay in hotels or at Airbnb accommodation.

Car sharing

However, van den Broeke did have information on the way in which staff members are choosing to travel between Brussels and Strasbourg.

The parliament is promoting car-sharing and, in 2016, around 12 percent did just that.

The most popular mode of transport for parliament workers was still driving in their own car (34 percent), followed by making use of the chartered train (27 percent), and then the regular train (15 percent).

This article is part of EUobserver's annual Business in Europe magazine, which can be read in full here. This year, the magazine looks into how Europe manages the sharing economy. If you would like to receive the e-version of the magazine, please register for the newsletter.

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