It might be fun at first beaing a disrupter like Airbnb and taking on the big guys, the hoteliers, in New York, but then the fight can get nasty and it just has.
To recap Airbnb offers ordinary New Yorkers the opportunityu to bring in a bit of extra cash by renting out a spare room to short stay tourists.
New York is a fertile market for just such a scheme with 50.5 million tourists coming to NYC this year. And with hotel occupancy rate at 90%, you would think it was a win/win all round. Tourists get a broader choice and hotels don’t suffer because there are still penty of tourists to go round. And those ordianry New Yorkers get to earn extra money.
But the hotels aren’t happy.l they say ‘We pay taxes and have to meet safety codes and these ordinary New Yorkers don’t have to do all that and it isn’t fair’
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The next thing you know the New York Solicitor General has banned Airbnb from letting hosts sublet for less than 31 days as per current laws which were never meant to apply to this new situation.
As you can iamgine there are a lot of very unhappy renters and rentees in New York right now because of this new ruling.
Meanwhile Airbnb itself has gone on a charm offensive. It has put up warm and fuzzy posters all over the subway system to persuade everyone that Airbnb is a good thing and they have beome sponsors of the New York Marathon as well. And Airbnb says of course our renters can pay tax and by the way get rid of this stupid law that says people can only rent for 31 days.
This whole brawl has a ways to go just yet. The reality is hotels are not hurting, they’re just worried they will in the future.
Meanwhile tourist numbers keep increasing and last time I heard there were still a lot of New Yorkers who would love to earn some extra money by renting out a spare room.
Let’s hope sanity prevails, the law gts changed, New York benfits by the taxes Airbnb will pay and the hotels stop being the bad guys. We can only hope.