Hotel Industry Claims That Airbnb Market Dominated By “Illegal Hotels”

Image courtesy of Neff Conner

Home-sharing platforms like Airbnb describe their services as a way for homeowners with extra rooms — or second houses they rarely use — to connect with people looking for a place to stay. Hotel owners counter that Airbnb just lets people run de facto hotels without all of the regulations and taxes. In a new report, the industry lays out its case against these allegedly illegal hotels.

The data used for the study came from the analytics site AirDNA, and real estate firm CBRE crunched the numbers for the American Hotel & Lodging Education Foundation, funded by industry trade group the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

The study [PDF] contends that most Airbnb’s revenue comes from rentals of whole units, meaning an entire apartment or house, for short periods of time.

The report also points out to what it says is a growing number of landlords renting out multiple properties. According to the study the amount of money earned by hosts renting multiple whole units increased in the last year. Hosts with multiple properties saw their earnings go up even more, claims the industry, which notes that hosts in Nashville saw this type of revenue quintuple in a single year.

New York and San Francisco are exceptions to this trend. Both cities have expensive housing markets and city governments attempting to crack down on landlords who use Airbnb to run unlicensed hotels.

“The report debunks the story Airbnb likes to tell of themselves as merely a home-sharing platform where hardworking Americans may occasionally rent a room in their homes,” the president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Katherine Lugar, told the Chicago Tribune.

An Airbnb spokesman pointed out some flaws in the analysis to the Tribune. First, a guest cottage or in-law suite, for example, counts for the purpose of this study as a whole-unit rental, but that functions differently from a whole separate apartment only for travelers.

At the same time that hotels condemn Airbnb and its competitors, they also list rooms on the site, hoping to compete for tourist dollars.

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