This should surprise no one: at least one hotel CEO has been caught bragging about his plans to raise prices for the brand’s New York City hotel rooms, following the recent bill signed into effect by Governor Andrew Cuomo that makes it illegal for people to advertise short-term rentals on Airbnb.
In a transcript obtained by the Washington Post, LaSalle Hotel Properties chief executive Mike Barnello told shareholders that the legislation "should be a big boost in the arm for the business, certainly in terms of the pricing." (h/t Gothamist). LaSalle owns and operates New York City hotels that include Gild Hall, WestHouse, Park Central New York, and The Roger.
Of course, this does not sit well with the many people who already refute the bill, arguing that it robs middle-class families of the opportunity to make extra money while allowing big-brand hotels to charge the consumer whatever they want. "They say a gaffe is unintentionally saying what you really believe and the latest gaffe from the hotel cartel makes it clear that the New York bill was all about protecting the hotel industry's bottom line," said Airbnb public affairs director Nick Papas.
On the contrary, state officials say that the law isn’t designed to crack down on middle-class folks looking to make some extra bucks, but more to target those who operate illegal hotel-like operations by posting several properties on Airbnb. Those caught can face fines up to $7,500.
In the meantime, Airbnb has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, claiming that the bill is in violation of their First Amendment rights.