Airbnb is growing rapidly in Canada, and Whistler is now one of the most attractive destinations for aspiring entrepreneurs. Launching a short-term rental here has many benefits for aspiring entrepreneurs as the market continues to grow every year.
Even though it is possible to pass most responsibilities to professional management companies like https://hearthomes.ca/airbnb-management-whistler/, it is still important to understand the market and the conditions of operating there before launching an enterprise.
Short-Term Rental Market Overview in Whistler
The short-term vacation rental market in Whisler is fairly competitive, as there are more than 3,000 active Airbnb listings in the city. The vast majority of them are entire home listings, where most properties have one or two bedrooms available for accommodating guests. The market is growing at around 9% per year, and it has already recovered from the damages caused by the pandemic.
The average daily rate in Whistler is around $509 with some noticeable seasonal fluctuations throughout the year. The business here is seasonal, and the most demanded period is from November to March. The occupancy rates average 66% throughout the year, reaching the highest point of 90% in February.
The average annual revenue of short-term vacation rentals in Whistler reaches $121,800, which is higher than in many other regions in Canada. This metric demonstrates that even with the expansion of the market and the increasing intensity of competition there, the city is still capable of having more Airbnbs that could remain sustainable.
To be on par with the competition, a new rental will need to offer all the same benefits. The visitors of Whistler will expect the property to be equipped with all the necessary amenities, including wireless internet, heating, washing, parking, and others. The good news is that there is still room to gain a competitive advantage over existing businesses by opting-in for a milder cancellation policy. Almost 74% of listings in Whistler operate with a strict policy, so choosing moderate or flexible policies will be beneficial.
Legal Aspects of Running an Airbnb in Whistler
As any other city in Canada, Whistler has various regulations for the hospitality and short-term rental industries that Airbnb hosts have to comply with. The first set of rules is applied to the property itself. It should be eligible for rental usage according to the zoning rules of Whistler, and it should comply with the security standards in order to start accommodating guests.
To start running the business, the hosts will also have to obtain a license. It applies to all short-term rentals, and launching an Airbnb in Whistler without one is illegal. A license has to be obtained from the local authorities, and its number has to be displayed in the listings at all times. The application can be made on the official website of the authorities, and the main fee associated with it is $190, which has to be paid annually.
As all legitimate businesses in Canada, short-term rentals are subject to taxes. Aspiring entrepreneurs will have to pay the personal income tax, which also implies keeping records and reporting income properly. Those who operate multiple Airbnbs or very successful single rentals have to pay the goods and services/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST), in case the business generates more than $30,000 worth of revenue.
Benefits and Opportunities for Short-Term Rentals in Whistler
There are multiple major benefits of launching an Airbnb in Whistler. First of all, there is a steady market growth of around 9% a year. Combined with the decent performance of existing properties, it means the city has still enough room for more short-term rentals to launch and prosper.
The overall popularity of the city among tourists is also growing, and more and more potential guests come to Whistler every year. This includes both internal and external tourism, as the city is almost equally popular among Canadians and foreigners.
The seasonal effect is also fairly mild here, compared to many other destinations in Canada. Aside from huge metropolises, most cities in the country are popular among visitors for two or three months a year, whereas in Whistler, high levels of demand persist for almost half a year. Most properties generate impressive revenues from November to April, making the business more flexible here.
Another major benefit Whistler has compared to many other Canadian cities is the density of properties. The short-term vacation rentals here are not evenly spread around the city’s area, although there is still enough space between existing Airbnbs. They exist in fairly large clusters, but there are no locations that are too densely packed with properties. This is definitely great news for entrepreneurs, as they won’t have to compete with dozens of other Airbnbs on the same block, as it happens in downtown areas of major cities in Canada.
The real estate prices in Whistler are slightly higher than average in British Columbia, which might seem as a downside at first glance. However, the rates of short-term vacation rentals are significantly higher than in most other cities of the province, meaning it is actually easier to reach the breakeven point in Whistler, even though launching a business here requires a larger investment.
All in all, Whistler is a great destination for launching a short-term vacation rental. Many Airbnbs are already performing well here, and there is clearly room for more listings. Since the market is fairly competitive, it is vital for aspiring entrepreneurs to start delivering a high-quality service from day one, which can be achieved with the help of professional management companies.