The Real Deal New York

Airbnb’s battles in NYC rage on

A lot of money is spent, but no real winner has emerged
March 30, 2015 09:11AM

Both Airbnb and Share Better — a group comprised of the city’s hotel union and affordable housing advocates — have spent millions on influencing public opinion.

Still, neither of the parties has come out of the fight with real results.

Airbnb, which is valued at more than $20 billion, reportedly spent roughly $15 million on television ads in the second half of 2014, according to Crain’s, as well as multiple millions on subway ads and billboards. Airbnb also paid New York-based lobbying firm Bolton-St. Johns $431,300, the publication reported. The popular home-sharing service also spent tens of millions of dollars on public relations and advertising campaigns and hired Marathon Strategies, Public Solutions and Risa Heller Communications.

Share Better claims that it has beaten the popular service, after Airbnb didn’t change a 2010 law that prohibits tenants in properties with three or more units from renting out their rooms for less than 30 days. Airbnb, on the other hand, still lists more than 27,000 rooms and apartments in New York City. In addition, revenue from New York listings was expected to exceed $282 million in 2014, according to the publication.

The Real Estate Board of New York as well as major developer Related Companies have also railed against Airbnb.

“Airbnb and home-sharing are here to stay,” company spokesperson Nick Pappas told Crain’s, “and it’s a matter of time before we fix this law.” [Crain’s] — Claire Moses