Traditional hotels are currently locked in something of a battle with home-stay start-up Airbnb for travelers' dollars—and in New York, at least, it looks like Airbnb could be doing some quantifiable damage. The New York Post reports that the average cost of a New York hotel room has dropped to $266 per night, the lowest point since 2009. (Airbnb was founded in 2008.) Meanwhile, the number of visitors to the city has only increased—in 2015, more than 59 million people traveled to New York, the highest that number has ever been.
Unsurprisingly, those in the hotel industry are pointing fingers at Airbnb as the cause of the decline. "Demand for New York is not the issue. If Airbnb were to go away, room rates would go up by 15 percent," Richard Born, a partner in hotels like the Greenwich Hotel and the Pod Hotel, told the Post. He continued, "Anyone who says Airbnb is not affecting NYC hotels is an idiot or hired by Airbnb to say that." (Okay!)
According to the website InsideAirbnb, there are currently about 36,000 listings in the New York City area on the home-sharing website, with the average cost being $149 per night. So it's not exactly difficult to see why travelers may choose that option over a traditional hotel—at a Pod Hotel, for example, a small room with a bunk bed and shared bathroom costs about that much.
But the city has recently stepped up its efforts to crack down on Airbnb, particularly listings that could violate the state's Multiple Dwelling Law, which makes it illegal to rent out an apartment (if the owner is not present) for fewer than 30 days. Some reports have estimated that more than half of the Airbnb listings in the city are in violation of that law.