AirBnB is moving past community petitions in its fight with New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman, focusing instead on the service’s economic impact on the city. The popular short-term rental website will release a study today showing that it generated $632 million for New York City’s economy last year, by catering to visitors who couldn’t afford conventional hotel rooms — enabling them to stay here longer and spend more money in the city.
Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenad AirBnB’s data on over 15,000 host users in New York City, as part of an investigation into illegal short-term stay hotels. The site has attracted about 416,000 visitors between August 2012 and July 2013, the company claims.
“It’s really important to understand that this isn’t a weird underground activity that a couple of hundred of people are doing,” David Hantman, AirBnB’s global head of public policy, told the Wall Street Journal. “It makes sense to make this safe and transparent by taxing it and moving forward,” he said.
On average, AirBnB users spend 6.4 nights in the city, spending $420 on accommodations and a total of $880 during the day, according to the study. In comparison, hotel guests stayed, on average, for 3.9 nights, spending $535 on accommodation and $695 during the day.
Lisa Linden, a spokesperson for the Hotel Association of New York City, a trade group that has been battling AirBnB, told the newspaper that hotels “are terrific employers and often provide entry level positions for people looking to enter the workforce in New York.” [WSJ] – Hiten Samtani