According to the documents cited by the Times, the hotel industry's goal was "advancing a national narrative that furthers the focus on reining in commercial operators and the need for commonsense regulations on short-term rentals".
Airbnb, an online marketplace that has successfully managed to house over 150 million travelers as well as simplifying access to over 190 different countries. (MAR) have respective market capitalizations of $19 billion, $7 billion and $36 billion.
Airbnb, on the other hand, shared something truly shocking through its blog post.
Clearly, the hotel lobbyists are concerned about losing business to AirBnB and similar services. Hospitality Net reports that local, state, and federal governments miss out on (i.e., are unable to confiscate) $226 million in tax revenues per year from the reduction in hotel stays in New York City alone. "The hotel cartel is intent on short-sheeting the middle class so they can keep price-gouging consumers", AirBnB spokesman Nick Papas told the Times.
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The main prongs of the association's plan to constrain Airbnb include lobbying politicians and state attorneys general to reduce the number of Airbnb hosts, funding studies to show Airbnb is filled with people who are quietly running hotels out of residential buildings and highlighting how hosts do not collect hotel taxes and are not subject to the same safety and security regulations that hotel operators must follow. The group has aligned itself with other organizations that claim Airbnb has unfairly driven up the cost of housing in major cities. However, all three senators declined to speak to the Times on the matter.
Last year, Airbnb underwent a rough regulatory patch. (The AHLA helped persuade NY lawmakers to impose a law that issues fines as high as $7,500 for people who repeatedly advertise their apartments on AirBnB for less than 30 days if they're not also staying there.) Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Miami, and Washington, D.C. are the trade group's next targets.
The AHLA has a $5.6 million annual budget for regulatory work, the NYT says. Primary locations of concern are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C, Boston, and Miami. In Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia, the AHLA is battling Airbnb's support for "pre-emption" legislation that would allow short-term rentals throughout those states, regardless of local laws.
After all, AirBnB lets us find lodging that's homier, less cookie-cutter, and far less expensive than renting hotel rooms. This is meant to explode the Airbnb narrative built around middle class "mom and pop" casual listers. Apparently, the AHLA is playing for larger stakes in those places, looking to have Airbnb shut down entirely.