Fierce competition and conflict between traditional hotels and short term let online platforms such as Airbnb is old news, but this ongoing battle has now been given a whole new dimension.
The Hotel Association of New York City has recently launched an ad campaign against Airbnb, suggesting possible links with terrorism. The 30-second video contains images from the Manchester bomb attack in May, with text overlays and ominous music. It sends out a strong message that short term rentals could be used to host terrorists like Salman Abedi who was behind the bombing and who had “massive packages” delivered to the address he was staying at just before the attack. However, the alleged short term accommodation was not listed on Airbnb.
The hotel industry and Airbnb’s battle continues…
According to the ad, the renting site refuses to provide addresses of 40,000 apartments it lists on its site to law enforcement, but it makes this information accessible in other cities i.e. Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans.
The 10-day video campaign ran in prime time on major networks such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. It is believed to cost around $500,000.
Airbnb responded to the attacks with its own ad, featuring an interview with a Brooklyn host who uses the rental site to help him pay his rent.
A spokesman for Airbnb, Peter Schottenfels, said: “The fact is Airbnb had nothing to do with the tragic events in Manchester and we are one of the only hospitality companies that runs background checks on all US residents, both hosts and guests. Hotel chief executives have a responsibility to tell us why they don’t do the same and why they continue to fund this sort of despicable, cynical advertising.” He cited the 9/11 and 2015 Paris attacks, saying terrorists responsible stayed at hotels.
Meanwhile in Europe…
In the Balearic Islands new measures have been introduced to limit number of tourists with the aim of helping locals who are being priced out of the rental market as a result of the increased holiday activity. These new restrictions mean that to rent out an apartment on sites such as Airbnb and similar, landlords would need to obtain a license and if they fail to do so, they will be fined up to 40,000 Euros. Also, the number of beds for tourists will be capped at 623,624 and there will be no new licenses issued for the next year. Similar controls have already been introduced in Barcelona.