In the ongoing battle Airbnb is currently waging against New York State and its short-term rental laws, the latest weapon its pulled out of its holster is economic data. By lowering the price point for accommodation and allowing more tourists to visit New York City, it hosted 416,000 visitors to the city between August 2012 and July 2013, boosting the economy by $632 million. At least, that's what its latest report, released today and summarized in the Wall Street Journal, claims: "It said it did so by attracting visitors who couldn't otherwise afford hotel rooms, making it possible for them to stay longer and allowing them to spend more money on food and shopping, rather than blowing their budgets on hotel rooms." Some more stats: Airbnb guests stayed an average of 6.4 nights, spent $420 on accommodation, and $880 overall during the day. By contrast, guests at traditional hotels typically stayed for a shorter time (3.9 nights), with $535 going towards accommodation and a total of $695 spent during the day. Their point is driven home: if tourists spend less on a hotel, they'll divert the dollars to other parts of the city.
Despite one legal victory that exonerated an East Village tenant who had rented out his room and had been slapped with a $40,000 fine, Airbnb's detractors are intent on bringing it down. It's not just lawmakers (and enforcers) like Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who subpoenaed data for some of AirBnB's New York users earlier this month. Landlords and tenant advocacy groups have also formed an unlikely partnership in opposition to the home vacation rental site. Airbnb has said they will fight to survive?and acknowledges that most of its hosts should be subject to an occupancy tax, just like hotels?but with an alliance as varied and strong standing before them, they might need more than economic data to win.
· Airbnb Cites Its Role in City [WSJ]
· All Airbnb coverage [Curbed]