Hotel industry launches plan to fight Airbnb


Popular hotel alternative Airbnb is causing the hotel industry to change the way they do things Washington.

The hotel industry wants more regulation of Airbnb, a website that connects homeowners to people who wish to rent homes or rooms.  The service is affecting the hotel industry and lawmakers have been listening to their concerns.

Using HotelPAC, their political action committee, they aim to force Airbnb to play by industry rules.  Of the $1.5 million they raised, they’ve put $1.3 million into the campaigns of congressional candidates who agree, “breaking their own fundraising and spending records, ” according to The Hill.

“Disbursements have been made in a strategic, bi-partisan, bi-cameral fashion to support members of Congress and candidates who are pro-lodging and pro-employer,” read minutes of a January American Hotel and Lodging Association board meeting obtained by The Hill.

The group, which includes HotelPAC and its parent organization, the American Hotel Lodging Organization, plans more fundraising.  They also wish to expand their donor base, do more grassroots organizing, ban federal workers from staying in short term housing and involve hotel owners and managers on legislation.

Prior to the new effort, conflict between the hotel lobby and Airbnb has been kept at a local level, with state and local governments hearing the arguments.  Tougher laws regarding short-term rentals have been passed in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.  It’s also easier to fine Airbnb hosts if they don’t follow accepted housing rules in New York , an accomplishment American Hotel and Lodging Association helped bring about in 2016.

Since drawing criticism, Airbnb has started fundraising and lobbying of it’s own.  The company collected $485,000 in 2016, reportedly donating $26,166 to Democrats alone that year.

“We’re always working to educate policymakers about Airbnb and how our platform expands the economic pie for ordinary people by helping them earn extra income that they use to pay the bills,” said Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas in October.

H/T: The Hill

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