Full marks for chutzpah. Journalists are deluged with surveys and reports purporting to be representative of this or that based on a typical (slim) sample size of 1,000 or so respondents.
These typically cover such vital questions as whether people in London wipe their bottoms with their left or right hand, their preference for clean clothes over dirty (detergent companies) and their love of walking over taking buses (makers of trainers).
But every now and then something comes along attempting to not so much pull the wool as guerilla-knit an Oculus Rift across our credulous faces. My Property Host’s “First Airbnb League Table” is one such release.
Tower Hamlets, it breathlessly intones, “towers above the rest” with an average occupancy rate of 94% – the highest in the capital.
Sounds pretty impressive doesn’t it? The kind of thing that would make you seriously consider letting out your home for the 90 days allowed over the course of a year. Bookings look like a certainty.
Indeed, My Property Home ’s managing director Elena Lopez opines in the release: “Tower Hamlets and Hackney consistently have the highest occupancy rates, with hosts there able to let their properties nearly every night they want to.”
Quids in. Where’s the problem?
Well there’s small print. The “research” only covers properties let through Airbnb that My Property Host actually manages.
So the occupancy rates aren’t applicable to the whole mass of 54,000 homes Airbnb currently has on its books in the capital (I contacted them to check how many are active).
In fact Airbnb said it didn’t recognise the figures in the release, although it also didn’t want to comment specifically.
So how many homes are covered?
What is the 94% based on, then? Well, My Property Host has subsequently revealed it manages 67 homes let through the site in London.
That’s a whopping 0.12% of the total on Airbnb and, although they don’t have a breakdown, averages out at just over two properties per borough.
Does that mean the data’s completely useless? No, but it certainly doesn’t mean the vast majority of Airbnb properties in Tower Hamlets have sky-high occupancy rates either.
It does mean that the two in that borough the firm manages are more popular (for some reason) than the two in, say, Lambeth.
I’ll leave you to decide whether that’s enough to publish a robust league table.
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