As an Airbnb Experience or Airbnb Adventure host, you’re in control of the experiences you offer, but it’s also your responsibility to understand and follow any relevant laws and regulations. This article can serve as a starting point or reference if you have questions, but please remember that it isn’t exhaustive, it doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice, and we can’t guarantee the reliability or accuracy of any source within it. It’s a good idea to check to make sure laws and procedures haven’t changed recently.
Local travel agency and other travel laws
Many countries have laws that apply to the sale of travel packages or to individuals or businesses that arrange travel on behalf of others. These laws often apply if you’re offering a "package" of different types of tourism services, such as travel, accommodation, activities, and meals. If you’re hosting an adventure or other experience that bundles these types of services together—for example, a camping trip in the Atlas Mountains that includes hiking and overnight stays—you should check whether any local travel agency or package travel laws apply to you.
The European Package Travel Directive 2015
The Package Travel Directive 2015 (“PTD”) applies to the sale of packages (defined below) to individuals living in the European Union (“EU”), providing them with enhanced protections in relation to any packages they buy. If you’re publishing your experience or adventure on Airbnb, it may be booked by guests who are residents of European Union member states.
The European Commission has published a summary of the PTD, as well as some guidance, about the Package Travel Directive. We’ve also included a brief summary of the PTD below. We hope that this is a helpful starting point. If you have any questions about whether the PTD applies to you, or what obligations you may be subject to as a result, you may want to seek advice from a legal advisor.
Note: Each EU member state is required to take its own steps to import the rules in the PTD into its national legal system (ex: by passing a new law). These local rules should all be broadly similar to the PTD, but there may be slight variations and so it’s a good idea to check the position in the member states in which you are selling your experience.
Definition of “package” under the PTD
The PTD defines packages as combinations of two or more travel services which fall within two or more of the following categories:
- Transport (ex: a flight, bus, ferry or train)
- Overnight accommodation
- Car rental (and rental of some other vehicles)
- Other tourist services (ex: trekking, a tour, cultural activities, or some other tourist activity)
Obligations of organizers of packages
The PTD imposes a number of obligations on organizers of packages (an organizer is the person who puts together and arranges the package). These can be broken down into 6 broad categories:
- The organizer has to comply with certain insolvency protection requirements so that the traveler is refunded or repatriated if the organizer becomes insolvent before or during the trip to which the package relates.
- The organizer has to give certain information about the package to the traveler before the traveller books the package.
- The organizer has to include certain terms in their contract with the traveler.
- The traveler has certain legal rights against the organizer before the start of the trip to which the package relates.
- The traveler has certain legal rights against the organizer during the trip to which the package relates.
- The organizer is liable to the traveler if things go wrong during the trip to which the package relates.
Consequences for an organizer that does not comply with the PTD
The consequences will vary depending on where the breach occurs, since each EU Member State will have its own enforcement rules. Typically, a breach of the PTD will be a criminal offense which may be subject to fines or other enforcement action. It may also be a civil offense which allows regulators to take action (such as seeking court orders) to prevent the breach from occurring again, or to require organizers to take certain actions to remedy the breach. Finally, a breach of the PTD may also give rise to claims from travelers for compensation arising out of the breach
For more details about how the PTD defines packages, and the obligations of package organizers, please take a look at the European Commission’s summary of the PTD or its guidance on the PTD. If you have any questions about whether your adventure or experience qualifies as a package, you should seek legal advice.