Month: September 2019
Two bits of potentially important news from California the birth place of the gig economy and home of much of the world’s original disruptive technologies.
In today news Uber, having gone public earlier this year, has announced it is now cutting back 435 workers in their US world HQ based product and engineering teams, having dismissed 400 from their marketing team in July. The move is being made to try and turn a profit for Uber and its new shareholders, something which they have yet to achieve since their launch there in 2011.
Rather than disrupt and then the winner takes all, Uber is perhaps now suffering from the growth in its own disruptive competitors, who are equally struggling to make profit. It is hard to feel too sorry for any of the gig businesses in such circumstances and almost impossible to predict who, if anyone, will eventually be left standing to take all.
Winning all may also just have got markedly more difficult, following yesterday’s California courts ruling that contract workers must be treated as employees, entitling them to appropriate employment rights and protections. This drives a coach and horses through the gig-based business model of many operations in various sectors, impacting on an estimated 1 m plus workers in California alone. A series of failed attempts to gain similar recognition in other US states is likely to be re-energised by the ruling.
What difference, if any, does Uber’s difficulties and the Californian State ruling on gig employees make in the UK? None directly, but if the business model isn’t working as well as we were perhaps led to believe for a leading world player like Uber and California, the birth place and leader in the gig economy, has now had cause for serious second thoughts about the wider social and economic consequences of the employment model underpinning the gig economy, then surely that should give cause for many more Countries and jurisdictions to stop and reconsider their own relationship with the gig economy?
The gig economy is creating new jobs and is accounting for much of the recent growth in UK employment, but are the business and employment models driving that growth, themselves sustainable and having disrupted the old way of doing business could they themselves collapse?
The reason we of course need to be interested is that gig economy is that it increasing touches on many businesses involved in tourism and many more of those businesses that are involved within the wider visitor economy.
Over the last few weeks I have added a number of articles on the sharing accommodation sector to our sharing economy and OTA’s page. I am conscious that +95% of what is now in our extensive library of articles are largely negative. Trust me when I find positive piece, I do add them.
My particular favourite in the latest batch is the Metro article on the cheapest Airbnb in the UK at £8 a night. I thought it might be “false news” until I checked it out and found it does exist and is on offer still today.
All mod cons; the host even gives you the option of whether she parks her car in front or at the back of the house, nearer the back yard with the cat litter style toilet tent, presumably so you don’t have as far to walk from the blow up mattress across the back seat of the Nissan Juke family hatchback! This is the same yard with a tent in it, that forms part of the host’s 4 ecliptic offerings: the car’s rear seat, a small tent in an equally small back yard, an airbed in the lounge dinner of the host’s home and a caravan in what appears to be another but larger back yard.
One of the best line in the metro article, from the point of view of posing the question OMG, what has the sharing economy brought us to, is:
‘There’s electricity. Even for the tent outside I run a lead from my house”.
Followed by sheer comedy value/sound thinking on the part of the host, by:
“…… is also arranging a clamp to be fixed on one of the Nissan Juke’s wheels to stop people driving off when she hands them the key”.
I appreciate that what is being offered above is offered openly and guests are not being deliberately mislead as such. But I do still have anxieties over what is safe and in this case, what should be permissible? If I slept in my own car outside my own house or lived in a caravan on the drive or in the back yard, I am pretty sure that the authorities would have good reason to question it? Doing the same for commercial gain, however small, is surely a significant step beyond that? I know colleagues have worked tirelessly to try and outlaw poor quality, dangerous traditional accommodation sector provision over several decades. To see the sharing accommodation platforms opening up a new route to market for questionable provision is more than a little worrying, or at least that is what I feel. about it. I’d welcome colleagues’ views on the specifics of extremely basic provision; is it OK to offer tourist accommodation in my garden shed if the buyer is forewarned it’s a shed? And if it is not, should the sharing platforms be facilitating its promotion?
See the latest articles at: https://britishdestinations.net/tourism-the-sharing-economy-and-its-wider-implications/
You may be pleased to hear that efforts to fund a QC opinion around various sharing accommodation issues, that’s being led by colleagues in the SW and supported by British Destinations and many others is progressing well.
I have just realised that I have failed to circulate the news that Great Yarmouth’s, Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area second term ballot was successfully approved in early August on 53.4% of the vote cast and 71.4% of the total aggregate value, A total of 262 or 39% of the eligible ballot papers were cast.
This is great news for the Greater Yarmouth area, for the destination for local tourism and I would suggest for Destination BID process, as this now means that all the first tranche of the tourism focused, Destination BIDs adopted in 2013 – 2014 have been successfully reappointed. Hopefully this will help encourage businesses in other D BIDs to maintain their faith and reappoint when their turn to consider second terms comes round.
Congratulations to all concerned at Great Yarmouth.
For more detail on Tourism and, as we prefer to call them, Destination BIDS see: https://britishdestinations.net/business-improvement-districts-and-tourism/
Details of the VisitBritain Sector Deal Conference, 10 am for 10.30 am to 5 pm, Birmingham Hilton Metropole, B40 1PP may not have reached you all. If you wish to attend then respond to VB by 5 Sep RSVP . Original invitation detail is reproduced below or view it online at:
Extract of original reads:
Following the Government’s announcement of a Tourism Sector Deal in June, I am delighted to invite you to a conference to find out more about the deal, how it will be implemented, and how you can get involved.
Key speakers from the industry and government will be discussing the major themes of the Tourism Sector deal, including: the tourism data hub, accessibility, business visits and events and tourism zones. The sessions will include a mixture of panel discussions, presentations and opportunities for questions from the audience.
We will also be running a skills session and a Sector Deal Q&A.
Spaces are limited so please RSVP by Thursday 5 September.
Refreshments and lunch are included, and a full agenda will be shared closer to the event.
I look forward to welcoming you to the conference.
Steve Ridgway CBE, Chairman,
British Tourist Authority
Wednesday 18 September 2019
Hilton Birmingham Metropole
Pendigo Way, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1PP
Event starts: 10.30
Event close: 17.00