Accomodation capacity

Accommodation capacity refers to the total number of beds available in a destination. A distinction is generally made between market sector accommodation (holiday parks, hotels, vacation resorts, short-term rentals) and non-market sector accommodation (with relatives and friends and in second homes).

This definition is somewhat flawed

One of the main issues is that it does not take into account the reasons for travel or the intentions of individuals. A detailed analysis of each location or even each establishment can provide insight into the different types of trips, such as business, pilgrimage or tourism.

Additionally, the distinction between market and non-market accommodations may not always be clear-cut and may require further examination. The overlap between these two categories is real and should be acknowledged. For instance, a property can be transferred to the market sector whenever the owner decides to rent it out as a short-term rental, to amortise the cost of acquisition or renovation work. French tax regulations provide for this with the category of non-commercial rentals. The internet has also made it easier to advertise and find such rentals, with specialised websites and classifieds like Le Bon Coin and Craigslist making it simpler to find and list properties for rent. While traditional methods of advertisement, like notices posted in public places, still exist (Ill. 1), they have been largely surpassed by online platforms. The sharing economy, particularly in the realm of travel and tourism, has led to the emergence of companies that provide concierge services for short-term rentals. These companies handle tasks such as welcoming guests, inspecting the rental before and after the stay and performing the cleaning. This shift in the industry has also led to a diversification of the types of properties available for rent (Schéou, 2014), with large commercial companies entering the market and squeezing out owners of second homes who offer short-term vacation rentals. However, this has also led to a move away from the original concept of staying in the homes of local people and experiencing a more authentic cultural exchange.

Ill. 1. Handwritten short term rental sign in Saint-Jean-de-Monts (photo by Philippe Violier, July 21, 2022)

Fluctuating data

It is difficult to accurately determine the total accommodation capacity in a given location  (see Statistics), because the number of properties available for rent can fluctuate frequently, making it challenging to maintain an exhaustive list. Surveys based on convenience sampling can lead to inaccurate data.

Philippe Violier