Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 32

The uneven playing field: Hotels & Airbnb has, at best, done a poor job of it and, at worst, has only made cosmetic or half-hearted attempts at it. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers from Penn State University School of Hospitality Management found that between October 2014 and September 2015, multi-unit hosts (two-plus units) accounted for nearly 40 percent of Airbnb's revenue in the nation's 14 largest cities. "This translates to over $500 million annually. That's not home-sharing, that's a business. And it ought to be treated as such under the law," Maietta told Today's Hotelier. "No other company in America - especially one valued at over $30 billion - gets to decide what rules and regulations they must follow, or what taxes they must pay." While some of those may be homeowners earning extra cash by renting a couple of rooms a few days a month, many are not, and even those homeowners are becoming entrepreneurs themselves, not somebody simply trying to maintain a vacation home or mortgage payment with a small annual profit. Regulators need to force Airbnb to police itself better, Maietta said. Instead, investigations have caught the company deleting commercial postings to make the website conform - however momentarily - to the sharing-economy image of homeowners earning extra cash. "When you're dealing with commercial landlords who dodge taxes, skirt the law, and flout health and safety standards, you have an obligation to play by the rules," she said. THE FRIENDLY FACE THAT AIRBNB STRIVES TO PRESENT Lorraine Roark Bader acknowledges she is running a small business with her one-room suite she rents out inside or her San Francisco home. She says she could rent it out every night for $130 to $200 and deals in repeat customers. She keeps it busy - saying it is often only vacant for cleaning or when she travels - and it has its own side entrance that is secured from the rest of the house. "I could have it rented out almost every day of the year - there is that kind of demand," she told Today's Hotelier. "When I first got started, I put it on the Airbnb website, and within 45 minutes I had my first guests. It was a French couple who stayed a week. I thought, 'I have to do this.' It is kind of amazing." She is also not the face that the hotel industry wants to go against. The 70-year-old sophisticate started renting the room several years ago to help pay for her invalid husband's nursing care. It now provides a substantial source of her retirement income, and she enjoys the interaction with guests from all over the world. Getting government to take away her check from Airbnb may be only marginally easier than getting Congress to cut her Social Security payment. She has been an active voice in the Airbnb battles in San Francisco, the birthplace of the company. 32  | OCTOBER 2016 | TODAYSHOTELIER.COM "This thing (short-term rentals) is helping a lot of people," she said. "The money I earn from Airbnb really helps me maintain my home." But what is interesting from a hotelier's perspective is this: Bader and her ilk could be allies in the battle against the real bad actors - the multi-room properties that are more threatening competitors to hotels. They are her unfair competition, too, since they are de facto hotels operating in her territory. As far as the general hotelier goes, Bader with her single room - or even if she had a few - competes more with bed and breakfasts or youth or elder hostels, which, overall, target a different clientele. "The people who rent from me wouldn't be staying in a hotel in San Francisco or they certainly wouldn't stay as long because it is too expensive," she said. And at least she doesn't mind getting a business license when San Francisco required it or paying a hotel tax - she was already paying income tax - because Airbnb passes on the cost to the customer, just like the cleaning fee. Bader isn't the target - although she may be more of business than the hotel associations want to tolerate. "We support the rights of property owners to occasionally rent their homes to earn extra income," Maietta said. "The occasional rental of a primary residence, the true spirit of the 'sharing economy' that Airbnb claims to embody, is the type of activity that generates positive benefits to tourism across the country." "However, as we have seen time and time again in cities across the country, the real faces of Airbnb are not occasional renters but commercial operators running multi-unit, full-time lodging businesses without any oversight." However, Rogers sees Bader as a free-rider. After all, she is still competing against discount hotels. "This is not a fact-based claim," he said of Bader's assertion of not competing with hotels. "If markets like NYC and San Francisco have a large demand for lodging at a lower price point, hotel developers will do what they do best, develop... However, if Airbnb claims its price point is necessary because hotels are too expensive, perhaps we should eliminate the costly taxes on those hotels and then determine how pricing differs." THE ROOTS OF THE KUDZU - HOW AIRBNB GOT ITS START Brian Chesky (now CEO) and Joe Gebbia (now chief product officer) conceived the idea in 2007 when they were fresh out of the Rhode Island School of Design when they were strapped for cash and decided to rent floor space for air mattresses - hence the name, a derivative of "air bed and breakfast" - for people coming to town for town for a design conference. They made some easy money, and it occurred to them that they had come upon an idea that would be hit, eventually worldwide, for travelers wanting more of the comforts of home for an often-low price without the congestion of a hotel. http://www.TODAYSHOTELIER.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Today's Hotelier - October 2016

Letter From the Chairman
Letter From the President & CEO
News Bytes
AAHOA Spotlight
Best Western’s New Frontier
Government Affairs
The Uneven Playing Field: Hotels & Airbnb
Finding Opportunity in the Old
Development & Renovation
Living Legends: Wisdom From Industry Trailblazers
Finance Q&A
The Latest Tech Tools for Hospitality
Guest Experience
AAHOA Events
AAHOA Founding Members
AAHOA Vendor Partners
Classifieds
Advertiser Index
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - cover1
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - cover2
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 3
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 4
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 5
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 6
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 7
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Letter From the Chairman
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 9
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Letter From the President & CEO
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 11
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - News Bytes
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 13
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - AAHOA Spotlight
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 15
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 16
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 17
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Best Western’s New Frontier
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 19
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 20
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 21
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 22
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 23
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Government Affairs
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 25
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 26
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 27
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 28
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 29
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - The Uneven Playing Field: Hotels & Airbnb
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 31
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 32
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 33
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 34
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 35
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Development & Renovation
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 37
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 38
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 39
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 40
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 41
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Living Legends: Wisdom From Industry Trailblazers
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 43
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 44
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 45
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 46
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 47
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 48
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 49
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Finance Q&A
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 51
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 52
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 53
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - The Latest Tech Tools for Hospitality
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 55
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 56
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 57
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Guest Experience
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 59
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 60
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 61
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - AAHOA Events
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 63
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - AAHOA Founding Members
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 65
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - AAHOA Vendor Partners
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 67
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 68
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 69
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 70
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 71
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 72
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 73
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 74
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 75
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 76
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Classifieds
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 78
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 79
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 80
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 81
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 82
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 83
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 84
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 85
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - Advertiser Index
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - cover3
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - cover4
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - outsert1
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - outsert2
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 91
Today's Hotelier - October 2016 - 92
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