NEW ZEALAND (Reuters) – New Zealanders have become increasingly accustomed to Uber-like gyms and a surge in bookings is driving up rents for some of the country’s most popular hotels.
Uber Technologies Inc, a New Zealand technology company, has opened new locations in Auckland and Wellington, where it has more than 500 licensed businesses, and has started booking hotel rooms in more cities including Melbourne and Sydney.
Auckland’s two new hotel locations were opened by Uber on Wednesday, and have attracted about 10,000 people in the last 12 months, according to Airbnb, a global real estate website that tracks demand for apartments.
The company said that the surge in hotel booking activity, and the number of people booking in Auckland, had contributed to the growth in rents in some of its new hotels.
It said Airbnb had been “very helpful” in getting more New Zealander guests to book rooms, and that Airbnb also helped to “build a strong, supportive community” around its business.
“This means we’re seeing more and more people booking rooms and Airbnb is providing a great place to do it,” Airbnb chief executive Tom Collier said.
“The demand for accommodation is growing and it’s helping us to grow.”
Rent prices are rising in New England because of the surge of new Airbnb-hosted hotel rooms, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
Airbnb’s share price jumped 8 percent in early trading on Thursday.
Airbnb says it provides a safe and secure platform for people to stay in hotels and to rent out rooms to their guests, but critics say the company’s business model does not allow the company to protect its users from the risks of using its platform to book hotels.
In a blog post, Airbnb said it has “no plans to restrict the availability of Airbnb accommodation” to any third party, including hotels, in the United States.
The growth of Airbnb-style rental services has driven up rents in many of the most popular properties in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, the AP reported, citing the National Association of Realtors.
In addition, Airbnb has increased its presence in the New York area, where its main service, Airbnb Short Stay, is in operation, and where it said it would open a second Manhattan hotel in 2021.(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)