A new study released Thursday by a national hotel group that has criticized the growth of app-based home-sharing networks contends the biggest of them, Airbnb, has gotten away from home-sharing and now is promoting illegal hotels.
The study, conducted by the CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research and released by The American Hotel & Lodging Association, takes a look at how many Airbnb host properties are something besides home-sharing, and finds that in many cities the answer is many, and in Miami the answer is most.
The study looked at only 13 cities in which Airbnb does business, and Miami was the only Florida city. In Miami, according to the study, 58 percent of the revenue generated came through “hosts” who operate two or more self-contained residences where no one lives except the guests who are paying to stay a few nights at a time.
Unless they’re fully licensed, that’s an illegal hotel – not a home-sharing arrangement, AHLA President and Chief Executive Officer Katherine Lugar contended in a news release.
“Once upon a time Airbnb might have simply been a home sharing company, but this analysis shows that’s just a fairytale now,” she stated. “This report provides a stark contrast to the picture that Airbnb presents to policymakers and the public and sheds light on why the company has largely refused to take even basic steps to stop illegal hotel operators, because these actors drive the overwhelming – and growing – portion of its revenue.
“Indeed, it appears that Airbnb is actively supporting this commercial activity rather than trying to operate within the boundaries of the law. Today we are calling on Airbnb to finally come clean, tell the truth to the communities where it operates and crack down on the illegal hotels that it facilitates.”
The study contended that in almost every market examined the percentage of revenue from multi-unit hosts increased from 2015 to 2016. The exceptions were New York City and San Francisco, where, the report states, policymakers enacted regulations to limit abuse by commercial operators and ensure short-term rentals represent true home sharing.
Benjamin Breit, spokesman for Airbnb Florida, responded by calling the report misleading and inaccurate “and bought and paid for by the big hotels.”
It is, he said in a written response, “The latest example of the industry’s willingness to say and do anything to protect their record profits, preserve their ability to price gouge consumers and squash their competition. As the AHLA already knows, many of their member inns, motels and hotels list rooms on our platform, so these are included in the very data on “commercial” listings the big hotels seem so concerned about.”