The New York Post
September 29, 2016
The drive to put Airbnb out of business in New York is a classic example of vested interests trying to use state power to stop the future.
Behind the war on Airbnb is the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, a labor union that seems obsessed with the idea that the “sharing economy” is a threat to its members’ jobs.
Of course, that’s not the danger you hear of. No, the warnings are about “dangerous lodgings,” as in the recent study for the Senate Independent Democratic Conference — which flagged 91 Airbnb listings as possibly dangerous because the hosts said they could accommodate 13 or more guests.
That’s 91 listings out of 44,000 that Airbnb has for New York, or 0.21 percent. And for most of the 91, all you can tell about the offering is that it’s . . . a large house. Yes, the report had a few photos of beds jammed close together — but nothing to justify the title, “Tourist Tenements in the Making.”
Nor is the IDC’s proposed solution — more anti-Airbnb laws — a rational solution. The Airbnb folks are already looking into the listings the report flagged, and will doubtless remove any shady ones: They’ve already de-listed 3,000 offerings this year, because the would-be hosts don’t share the “values” of the Airbnb community.
You can tell the naysayers are out to kill Airbnb by the key feature of the bill they want Gov. Cuomo to sign right now: a fine of up to $7,500 a pop not on people who rent illegally, but on anyone who advertises as an Airbnb host without meeting specs written for hotel rooms.
Weirdest of all: The hotel union is obsessed with a phantom menace, because Airbnb isn’t remotely denting the hotel biz the way, say, Uber threatens the yellow-cab industry.
The typical Airbnb guest is entirely different from most folks who use hotels. And, in the city at least, the industry is booming, with new “boutique” hotels opening all the time.
Helping to drive that expansion is the Internet — which has made it far easier to search for and book hotel rooms, shop for bargains and so on. And it all keeps getting better: Just last week brought a new app, One Night, that lets you find and book a New York (or LA) hotel room at a bargain rate after 3 p.m. the day of your stay.
The future has more to offer all of us — as long as the fear-mongering special interests don’t stand in its way.
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