Why the hotel industry in Spain is its own worst enemy

I’m going to go out on a limb here. Having lived in Spain for 14 years, I believe I get the mood of the country and its people. And right now the people of Spain are not to be toyed with, even less so when the player or players happen to be large corporations. 

But that is exactly what the hotel sector seems to be doing, in its attempt to manipulate the decisions made in regional government regarding regulations to holiday rentals (viviendas de uso turística).  

It seems a rather odd strategy to me, that a sector which relies wholly on the general public, should be so aggressive towards a sector that is to a large extent made up by their customers i.e. the general public. This isn’t just a war of industries.  

Playa de las Americas hotels vs holiday rentals

In regions such as the Canary Islands, Andalucía and Madrid, there seems to be some rather underhand tactics being deployed to ensure the interests of the hotel industry are protected, rather than the interests of the homeowners and vitally, of the guests. Wasn’t that what the introduction of a regulation was all about? Improving the quality and security of holiday rental accommodation for guests? So why, all of a sudden, has the interests of a third party become more important? 

In fact, so intent they seem to be on throwing spanners into the works and putting obstacles in the way of this small, but steadily growing sector; large hotel groups seem to be losing sight of the fact that they are damaging their brand reputation both in the local and international market.  

When we read about owners receiving 20,000 € fines, or others having to give up their home because they can no longer afford the mortgage, since they had to stop renting their homes out, we feel for them, each and every one of us could be in that position one day. In the same media space we read the reason behind the delay in bringing in sensible regulations is one large organisation or another putting the pressure on to ensure their own agendas are protected. Well it’s evident across social media channels and with practically every comment you read on a news article on the subject, this type of manipulation and bully boy tactics is not acceptable. Does it rile us enough to stop booking hotel accommodation? I’ll go out on that limb again and say, I think it might well do that. 

The hotel industry needs to recognise that it can’t change the future. Holidaymakers in the 21st century choose holiday rentals, amongst other accommodation, it’s part of the 'now' and future of the travel industry. It must accept the people’s right of choice. Just like the music industry did with streaming. And it needs to grow with it. Accept what's going to be and concentrate on ways of improving and developing its own business, so it too has a place in the future. Because continued bullying may leave some hotels out in the cold.  

I’ve spent over a year studying, researching and writing about holiday rentals regulations in Spain. As holiday rental owners need to accept change and improve their businesses, so the hotel industry also needs to do the same. This is my personal opinion, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.