Hotel industry launches terror-themed attack ad against Airbnb

Airbnb says it’s an “outrageous scare tactic”

TRD New York /
Jul.July 31, 2017 02:40 PM

The New York City hotel industry is ramping up its efforts to quash Airbnb’s presence in the city by running an advertisement that suggests the home-sharing site increases the terror threat.

The 30-second spot, which began airing Monday, claims the company will not provide the addresses of the 40,000 city apartments it uses in the city, even though it will in places like San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans, the New York Daily News reported. It also refers to reports that Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi had “massive packages” sent to him at a short-term rental apartment he found online, though that was not an Airbnb location.

The ad concludes by asking, “So who’s in your building? Airbnb won’t say.” It also lists a phone number to call and register complaints against the company. The $500,000 commercial has been bankrolled by the Hotel Association of New York City and a hotel workers union, according to the newspaper, and will run for 10 days in primetime slots on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

Airbnb’s Peter Schottenfels described the ad as “an outrageous scare tactic by big hotels who themselves have a long history of lodging people who engage in acts of terror.” He added that that Airbnb is one of the only hospitality companies that runs background checks on all U.S. residents who are guests and hosts. “The fact is Airbnb had nothing to do with the tragic events in Manchester.”

Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law that made it illegal to list units for rent for less than 30 days if the owner isn’t present. Active Airbnb listings have increased slightly since City Hall began giving out fines to people in February for illegal listings. [NYDN]Miriam Hall

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