Trying to Regulate Airbnb Out of Existence Will Make Them Stronger

Hotel industry disruptor Airbnb is in big government and the hotel industry’s crosshairs. It was revealed earlier this year that these two forces plan to come together to root the multi-billion company out of existence. Here’s what was uncovered:

The plan was laid out in two separate documents that the organization presented to its board in November and January. In the documents, which The New York Times obtained, the group sketched out the progress it had already made against Airbnb, and described how it planned to rein in the start-up in the future.

The plan was a “multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level,” according to the minutes of the association’s November board meeting.

The documents provide an inside look at how seriously the American hotel industry is taking Airbnb as a threat — and the extent to which it is prepared to take action against it.

Two recent examples in D.C. and in San Francisco (its home base) point to Airbnb winning the war of public opinion going forward.

A bill was brought by the D.C. City Council in January to stifle Airbnb’s presence in the nation’s capital. Here’s more on the proposed legislation and its consequences:

The bill, which Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffieproposed in January, would require hosts to register their listings with the city and would limit the number and duration of rental bookings for a given unit of housing. It would also set a 15-day annual cap on what it calls “vacation rentals” (those where hosts do not remain on site overnight), procedures for city inspectors to review listings, and fines of up to $7,000 for hosts who violate the measure’s provisions.

Anti-Airbnb forces like ShareBetter, a coalition of local politicians and members of the hotel establishment, have launched video campaigns to undermine their efforts under the guise of rallying for “affordable housing.” Even more cofounding is why would this D.C.-based group use an actress residing in New York to rally people to their cause? Here’s the ad:

 

In response to this, Airbnb shot back at ShareBetter with the following statement: “This ad is another example of ShareBetter and the Working Families Party doing the bidding of the hotel industry—attacking middle-class families who home-share to make ends meet, and travelers who depend on home-sharing to visit communities which lack hotels like those east of the Anacostia River.”

A similar situation recently plagued Airbnb in San Francisco, in which the company settled with the City by the Bay earlier this week. Here’s more on the settlement:

The legal settlement with the city over unregistered listings marks the end of a multiyear battle that pit affordable housing advocates and some local officials against home-sharing start-ups and the wider tech community. Ultimately, Airbnb and its co-defendant, HomeAway, conceded to many of the city’s demands, but also showed other start-ups that there is a payoff to flexing some legal muscle and going up against regulators.

Under the settlement, Airbnb agreed to build software that would automatically send the city the names and address of hosts who sign up locally. People who are already hosts have 8 months to register.

Cities like D.C. and SF may attempt to regulate Airbnb out of existence, but they won’t succeed. Market forces and positive public opinion of the company will continue to keep the company afloat.

With Help From Democrats, Hotel Industry Continues to Wage War on Airbnb

Startup and hotel disruptor Airbnb is the hospitality industry’s crosshairs in 2017.

Last June, the company was subjected to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation after three Democrat U.S. Senators –Dianne Feinstein of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Brian Schatz of Hawaii–sent a letter asking for such a probe. Their reasoning? The company is supposedly racist and encourages tax evasion. Ironic for them to target a company that supposedly shares their social justice credo…However, innovation is wholly admonished by limousine liberals.

In October, the company suffered a huge blow in New York City after Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) signed a bill into law placing steep fines on Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations. Goodness…

Here’s more on this continued negative campaign against Airbnb as reported by NYTimes:

The plan was laid out in two separate documents that the organization presented to its board in November and January. In the documents, which The New York Times obtained, the group sketched out the progress it had already made against Airbnb, and described how it planned to rein in the start-up in the future.

The plan was a “multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level,” according to the minutes of the association’s November board meeting.

The documents provide an inside look at how seriously the American hotel industry is taking Airbnb as a threat — and the extent to which it is prepared to take action against it.

The objective is laid out as the following and can be read in its entirety here:

“Objective: Build on the success of 2016 efforts to ensure comprehensive legislation in key markets around the country and create a receptive environment to launch a wave of strong bills at the state level while advancing a national narrative that furthers the focus on reining in commercial operators and the need for commonsense regulations on short-term rentals.”

This is not new. Ever since the San Francisco-based company successfully got off the ground, it’s been met by constant challenges from local governments, so-called housing rights groups, and politicians from both parties — namely Democrats. (As evidenced by the three senators’ letter from last June.)

Airbnb has successfully disrupted the $1.1 trillion hotel industry–for the better. As I previously documented here at The Resurgent, the “Belong Anywhere” company isn’t going anywhere. It’s our job as supporters of free enterprise to support it–even if we disagree with some of their mission statement.

New Book Makes Case for Airbnb to Thrive in Hyper-Regulatory World

As conservatives, we applaud and pay lip service to the ride-sharing economy and welcome it with open arms. We stand with the company at the federal and state level whenever they face regulatory roadblocks to operation. However, do we truly understand the importance of companies like Airbnb and what they do to bolster free enterprise? Not nearly enough. Hence why Resurgent readers should pick up a copy of The Airbnb Story by Fortune Magazine editor Leigh Gallagher.

I randomly stumbled upon the book on Twitter from a retweet by Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO. It piqued my interest because very few in politics have positively and objectively examined Airbnb for its contributions as a creative disruptor–given omnipresent opposition the company still faces from politicians, the hotel lobby, and so-called housing rights advocates. Here in Virginia, Airbnb faces an uphill battle — but not as daunting as the roadblocks placed on the company in New York City. I’ve used the service before for a May 2015 NYC trip and found it to be a cheaper alternative. Millions of others have used Airbnb during vacations and business trips to get a more affordable, cozy, and comfortable experience in the city they traverse.

Airbnb has achieved a lot of success since its inception in 2008. What I appreciated about Gallagher’s book was how fair and unbiased her take on the company was. Citing personal experience using the platform, interviews/interactions with company higher-ups, and seeking out stories of Airbnb users–both good and bad–she carefully but tactfully documents Airbnb from its bumpy start to its all-star status now.

Gallagher indirectly hints at a painful truth about most successful companies today: you must start from the bottom and work your way to the top. Like other profitable companies out there, Airbnb is the product of determination, hard work, and trial-and-error. Success isn’t attained overnight, Airbnb’s three founders realized. None of them had a hospitality background or formal management skills. Taking risks, Gallagher noted, comprised most of their strategy — and it paid off. Airbnb’s ascent in the world should serve as an inspiration to other start-ups and young entrepreneurs.

Moreover, Airbnb’s success can be attributed to personalizing and tailoring accommodations for people of all backgrounds, ages, and travel demands. Compared to overpriced hotels, Airbnb offers an array of  choices for travelers to stay at. As Chapter 3 “Airbnb Nation” notes, “Today the scope of Airbnb’s inventory reflect the diversity in the world’s housing market. Its three million listings are all unique, and the range of properties and experiences available is hard to imagine,” (59).

Here’s another important section that struck me about the company’s mission statement people tend to gloss over:

“The opportunity to show some humanity or to receive some expression of humanity from others, even if you never experience that person outside of a few messages, some fluffed towels, and a welcome note, has become rare in our disconnected world, (79).”

It is true. We live in a disconnected world, and yes, a very disconnected country where human connections are seriously–but not entirely–lacking. Gallagher notes how positive this facet is, however ambitious or unsuccessful Airbnb is at attaining this goal.

Gallagher went on to write that one Airbnb investor observed that, “Uber is transactional; Airbnb is humanity.” While you can have great chats with Uber drivers, Airbnb deviates from its ride-sharing compatriots by aspiring to be personal. I think both companies are unique and shouldn’t be pitted against one another. But Airbnb definitely aspires to bring something more to the table than Uber does. In fact, because of Airbnb’s success, the company is branching out to cater more to travel needs–with hosts offering personalized tours, trips, or classes in cities to offer guests more enjoyable experiences. That’s pretty neat, if you ask me.

Airbnb has brought more than a service or product to the forefront. It’s brought about a movement to “Belong Anywhere” as Gallagher notes in her book. How many services produce a movement these days? Very few. In spite of some of their overt social justice overtones, Airbnb is onto something–creating a culture and movement that empowers both consumers and home owners to make money, service others, and contribute positively back to the economy. I’ll admit, like the author notes, Airbnb is not for everyone. I certainly wouldn’t list my home there – but I plan to use them for some upcoming trips (especially those abroad). Many others will choose to be hosts or guests, and that’s a beautiful thing!

As Gallagher notes, Airbnb fits perfectly well into the ever-changing economy that’s trending more towards ride-sharing. Consumers are craving more choices–choices that should be afforded in a free market society like ours. If you want to familiarize yourself more with Airbnb, not only use the service–read Leah Gallagher’s book.

Virginia Company Aims to Increase Access to Great Outdoors

What happens when you marry love of the outdoors with a touch of Airbnb? You get companies like Outdoor Access, the Richmond, VA-based company all anglers, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts should familiarize themselves with.

Outdoor Access, Inc., is an online marketplace for fishing and hunting properties that launched last September. Their goal? To make the outdoors more accessible and affordable for outdoor enthusiasts–especially those with kids. They work closely with private land owners to showcase and rent out their properties. Despite launching in September, the company is seeing immense success with their intended audiences.

This is a new avenue in the outdoor industry that hasn’t been done before. With the rise of the gig economy and ride-sharing, companies like Outdoor Access should be welcomed with open arms.

In an exclusive interview with The Resurgent – with video to be published shortly – co-owner Buck Robinson said his company is all about affording choice and opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

“In our model, landowners are able to make their properties available on a fractional basis for a day, a weekend, or a week for any variety of outdoor recreation,” Robinson said.

The East Coast doesn’t have much of public lands like the Western United States does. Recognizing this, Buck and his team realized why not make extend access to outdoor opportunities through a service like theirs?

“Sometimes the public option is not exactly the ideal outdoor experience,” Robinson said.  “We wanted to create a platform that utilized private land but also doesn’t require you to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a traditional club or something along those lines.”

Even Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recognized Outdoor Access, Inc.:

Robinson said the goal of Outdoor Access is to provide an immediate clearinghouse to find properties. The company, he said, has immediate plans to expand to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and even as far south as Florida. Their goal is to be national within a few years.

Members must submit to a comprehensive background check before using the platform. Below is a sampling of their prices (screen shotted for you from their website):

 

Memberships are valued at $9.99/month and $99.00/year. Additional charges for property rentals may apply but average about $35 for daily use. How about that? Time in the outdoors at a reasonable cost–something our readers will enjoy discovering.

Stay tuned for our exclusive video with Outdoor Access’ Buck Robinson to learn more about this great new online marketplace. In the meantime, follow Outdoor Access, Inc. on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

AirBNB Set for Inauguration Record Despite Special Snowflakes

Prior to Donald Trump’s upset at the ballot box, large numbers of Clinton supporters had already begun making reservations for their celebratory inauguration weekend. In the month since the largely unexpected election result, record numbers of reservations have been cancelled but they’ve been outpaced by new need for lodging.

Cancelling reservations isn’t cheap. In most cases, the fee is 50% and in some cases that has cost as high as $2000! Apparently these folks REALLY don’t want to be near Trump supporters.

The cancellations aren’t just from visitors. Many AirBnB hosts have pulled their listings out of fear of having Trump supporters under their roof:

But some individuals who had planned to post their D.C. area homes on Airbnb said they are feeling conflicted about renting to or sharing their place with people who voted for Trump.

“I have a visceral reaction to the thought of having a Trump supporter in my house,” said Lobna, who had planned to rent out a room in the apartment she shares with two roommates. All three of them are Clinton supporters.

“No amount of money could make me change my mind,” she said. “It’s about moral principles.”

All of the bluster may be distracting but the bottom line is that AirBnB hosts are going to make bank over inauguration weekend! A recently released internal report from AirBnb shows that they expect more than 10,000 guests for the inauguration, 10 times the 2013 number.

Those reservation numbers will mean more than $3.5 Million in revenue for hosts in the DC area!

While 94% of DC voters, it seems that the powers of the free-market outweigh their desire for a trump-supporter-free safe space. Maybe the interaction of these groups will help thaw some tensions and break down misconceptions as administrations change.

Airbnb Says Committed Christians & Muslims Not Welcome

Airbnb won’t enforce its new policy in a place like Dubai, but everywhere else on the planet except in Muslim countries, committed Christians and muslims are no longer allowed to do business with Airbnb. In their new “community commitment,” Airbnb says Christians are not welcome. In fact, their new policy applies not just to those offering rooms, but to those seeking rooms.

Airbnb is a hotel alternative that allows individuals to put up their homes on a site and offer them up as hotel rooms. With their new policy, Airbnb demands that all its users, whether those seeking to rent out their home or those looking to rent a home, must be supportive of men in girls’ bathrooms, gay marriage, and anything else except sincere faith.

On its website, Airbnb helpfully has this FAQ:

I have strong religious beliefs that do not allow me to host LGBTQ guests. What should I do?

Hosts may not decline guests based on their sexual orientation. While your views may be different than those of your guests, please remember that being an Airbnb host does not require that you endorse all of your guests’ beliefs, but simply that you respect the fact that such differences exist and be inclusive despite the differences.

In the email sent out by Airbnb, they make clear this policy applies not just to people renting, but those seeking out a place to stay too.

While the left will praise it for opposing discrimination, it amounts to discrimination against sincere people of faith who would love to be hospitable, but must draw lines around moral deviancy because of the demands of their faith. Airbnb is perfectly happy, however, to have Christians as second class citizens because sexual freedom must trump religious freedom for the left.