The Real Deal New York

Hotel CEO says New York’s Airbnb law will “boost” business

It's the latest volley in ongoing feud between the industry and startup
October 28, 2016 10:30AM

Mike Barnello and Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky

Mike Barnello and Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky

A hotel executive celebrated the recently-passed New York law that will enforce a $7,500 fine on Airbnb hosts in a call to shareholders.

It “should be a big boost in the arm for the business,” Mike Barnello, CEO of LaSalle Hotel Properties said, according to transcripts of the call reviewed by the Washington Post. “Certainly in terms of pricing.”

The Maryland-based LaSalle owns and manages several hotels in New York City, including WestHouse and Park Central just south of Central Park, The Roger in Midtown and Gild Hall in the Financial District.

Barnello’s comments were made one day prior to Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing a bill into law that targets New Yorkers who illegally list an apartment for rent for fewer than 30 days, and slaps violators with a $7,500 fine.

Barnello’s comments appear to strengthen Airbnb and its supporters’ claims that the law will mostly benefit the hotel lobby.

“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,” Airbnb’s public affairs director Nick Papas told the Washington Post. “Albany back-room dealing rewarded the price-gouging hotel industry and middle class families will pay the price.”

The hotel lobby, affordable housing advocates and unions meanwhile claim Airbnb is making housing even more expensive by removing rental units from the market. [WaPo]Chava Gourarie