Hotels vs. Regular New Yorkers

Today, some in the hotel industry are launching a campaign to try and stop home sharing in New York. We’ve had productive conversations with many hotel leaders who understand that Airbnb makes New York stronger for all of us and makes it possible for more people to travel. And we’re eager to have even more conversations with everyone in the hospitality industry about ways we can all work together to promote travel in New York and around the world.

But today, media reports indicate that some misinformed hotels are willing to spend millions of dollars because they don’t think regular New Yorkers should be able to share the home in which they live.

Before you hear what the hotel industry’s campaign has to say, check out the facts about Airbnb:

  • Airbnb makes New York more affordable for more New Yorkers and makes the economy stronger. According to a study conducted by an well-respected advisory firm, 62 percent of Airbnb hosts in New York say hosting has helped them stay in their homes in the city they love.
  • Airbnb hosts earn a modest, but significant amount of money that can make a real difference for hard working families. The typical host earns $7,530 per year by sharing some extra space or the home they live in when they are out of town for a few days.
  • Airbnb is good for the economy in New York. All told, the Airbnb community will generate an estimated $768 million in economic activity in New York in 2014 and support 6,600 jobs. Travelers will have the chance to stay in unique spaces and visit small businesses in all five boroughs, and the Airbnb community will pay more than $36 million in sales taxes.

Some opponents of sharing have begun to claim that home sharing has an adverse effect on affordable housing in New York. This is an important issue and these claims are misleading and inaccurate. Here are the facts:

  • There are more than 3 million households in New York City and approximately 25,000 Airbnb listings, far too few to have an effect on housing prices.
  • This is especially true because the overwhelming majority of Airbnb hosts occasionally share only the home in which they live. 87 percent of Airbnb hosts share the home in which they live. The average host shares his or her space four nights a month. These hosts aren’t taking housing off the market, they are sharing the home in which they live once in awhile. Additionally, sharing their space is often the only way they can afford to stay in their home.
  • Experts like U.C. Berkeley professor Ken Rosen agree that Airbnb and short-term rentals aren’t driving up rents or having an impact on the rental housing market. Professor Rosen also noted that long term rentals can be easier and more profitable for landlords because short term rentals aren’t always occupied and come with other costs.

We strongly oppose illegal hotels, and we are a company founded on the belief that housing should be more accessible, more affordable, and more available.  We have worked to remove people from Airbnb that were having an adverse effect on travelers and the New York community. Earlier this year, we examined our community in New York and found that some property managers were abusing our site with multiple listings and weren’t providing a quality, local experience to guests. These hosts weren’t making their neighborhood stronger and they weren’t delivering the kind of hospitality our guests expect and deserve. We took action and removed these hosts and their more than 2,000 listings from the Airbnb community.

Airbnb was founded by regular people just trying to pay the rent by opening up their own home for a few days, so it is no coincidence that the vast majority of our hosts are doing just that. Airbnb allows long time residents to stay in their homes by earning just a little extra money to help make ends meet.

Some in the hotel industry will do everything they can to stop the sharing economy, but we look forward to working with leaders in New York on sensible legislation that cracks down on illegal hotels and ensures regular New Yorkers can share the home in which they live.