NYC Airbnb Hosts Write Letter To Hoteliers In Wake Of Bill's Passing
In the wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to sign the long-debated Airbnb bill, several NYC Airbnb hosts have written a letter to major hotel CEOs, criticizing them for their “campaign” against the home-sharing site and emphasizing Airbnb’s benefits to their lives.
The bill imposes fines of up to $7,500 for advertising illegal units on home-sharing sites, and was mainly put in place to cut down on the potential for illegal hotels or for removing units that could've been used for affordable housing from the market.
While state attorney general Eric Schneiderman said the bill was required due to Airbnb's lack of policing, bill sponsor and assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal believes "Airbnb's entire business model is predicated on breaking the law."
The hosts, on the other hand, write that they pride themselves on “helping democratize travel,” providing travelers with affordable options and driving business into neighborhoods that don’t normally benefit from the tourism industry. The letter was sent to Bisnow by a PR firm that counts Airbnb among its clients.
The letter's credited authors accuse hoteliers of “doing everything [they] can to make New York City more expensive for travelers and residents,” including working to pass the recent bill and supporting the American Hotel and Lodging Association, which has been putting up stiff resistance to Airbnb for the past few years.
AHLA SVP Rosanna Maietta says the organization supports property owners' right to rent their homes for extra income in the "true spirit" of the sharing economy, but is concerned with the number of commercial operators using Airbnb to run illegal hotels without any oversight.
"Airbnb can no longer turn a blind eye to the problems they are creating in New York—from compounding a housing crisis, to undermining the safety of guests and residents," she told Bisnow. "It’s time they stop hiding behind their hosts and rein in illegal commercial activity on their platform."
Declaring themselves to be NYC residents just as much as Airbnb hosts, the hosts end the letter asking the hoteliers how much of their profits are reinvested into NYC, as well as asking how much capital has been given to the AHLA.
The letter was sent to Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson, Hilton Worldwide CEO Christopher Nassetta, Hyatt Hotels CEO Mark Hoplamazian and several others. We'll keep you aware of any answers and updates.