According to documents obtained by the New York Times, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), a trade group that counts Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Hyatt Hotels as members, is formulating a “multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level” to limit Airbnb.
“Airbnb is operating a lodging industry, but it is not playing by the same rules,” a spokesperson for the trade group told The Times.
Axios reports that the AHLA is also planning to roll out a campaign this year, named "My neighborhood," that will showcase testimonials from people negatively impacted by short-term rentals.
Airbnb has slowing but surely been encroaching on the traditional hotel customer base. Airbnb first burst onto the tourism scene in 2008, offering people the chance to find cheaper-than-hotel accommodation in a number of cities. The firm reportedly has its fingers in the pies of more than 35,000 cities and 192 countries across the world — it’s still growing.
Airbnb is projecting it will earn as much as US $3.5 billion a year by 2020, according to sources close to the company. That's more than the market values of 85% of the companies in the Fortune 500. Fortune also reports that it would also be a 3,400% increase from what the company had in similar profits in 2016.
NYT reports that Airbnb is valued at around $30 billion; in comparison Hilton’s market capitalisation is $19 billion and Marriott’s $35 billion.
However, Airbnb hit back at the "hotel cartels" stating that its their "intent on short-sheeting the middle class so they can keep price-gouging consumers."
Airbnb released a statement saying: "The hypocrisy is almost unbelievable: the hotel cartel wanted Airbnb to collect taxes and when we implemented a way to do so, they changed their position and lobbied cities to leave millions of dollars on the table. And their 'model legislation' would charge a middle class family US $2,500 if they wanted to share their home for even one night."
The Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC) also conducted a year-to-date study from September 2014 for 12 months, which revealed that the service had a direct negative impact to the hotel industry of New York City —US $451 million worth. However, Airbnb has carried out its own studies in the past to show that it is not harming, rather it is helping the economies of cities it has offerings in.
Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Airbnb, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help promote responsible hosting and help grow and diversify tourism in the emirate.
The AHLA initiative will focus on key markets, specifically San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, and Washington D.C.
“We are trying to showcase and bust the myth that Airbnb supports Mom and Pop and helps them make extra money,” Troy Flanagan, of the American Hotel and Lodging Association told The New York Times. “Homesharing is not what this is about.”
Only time will tell who will win this battle but for now it's safe to say that the hotel industry is taking the threat of Airbnb very seriously.