Call-in show: How vacation rentals are changing the tourism business Up North

Dec 16, 2016

A search on Airbnb for nightly rentals in Traverse City brings up a wide variety of options.
Credit Airbnb.com

All over the world, vacation rental websites like Airbnnb, VRBO and homeaway.com are changing the way people travel. The websites promise you’ll get a more “authentic” travel experience when you stay in someone’s home instead of a hotel.

But opponents say there’s a downside to vacation rentals. They’re hurting those in the traditional hospitality industry, and they may be hurting people who are looking for a rental apartment or home to live in long-term. The conflict is felt especially hard in tourist hotspots, like northern Michigan, where websites like Airbnb have become very popular in recent years.

In this hour-long call-in program, we hear from Heather Rassel, a businesswoman who uses Airbnb to rent out a cottage on her property. We also hear from Peter Fitzsimons, executive director of the Petoskey Area and Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Dr. Dan McCole, an associate professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability.