If you think Airbnb and similar platforms have received a rough ride from some UK letting agencies and the hospitality industry, you should see what the New York hotel sector is saying about the proliferation of short-lets in that city.
Several tech, hospitality and property-related websites are reporting that an ad campaign by the Hotel Association of New York City has used images from the recent Manchester concert bomb attack to suggest short-let rentals could be used to host terrorists.
The Verge, an online multimedia journal, says: “The 30-second ad, which features just text overlays and an ominous music, is a slideshow of photos from the Manchester bombing, as it was reported that [the alleged terrorist, Salman Abedi] had ‘massive packages’ sent to the address he was staying at before the attack.”
However, The Verge points out that the address in question was not in fact an Airbnb listed property, although it was thought to be short-let accommodation.
The New York Daily News says: “The ad, which has no voices, just ominous music and text, goes on to state that Airbnb has refused to provide the addresses of the 40,000 city apartments it lists on its site to law enforcement, even though it does so in cities such as Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans.”
The newspaper claims that the ads ran for 10 days in prime time, including during sports coverage, and could have cost around $500,000. This was funded by the Hotel Association of New York City and a hotel workers union, and featured on major cable networks including CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.
An Airbnb spokesman is quoted in the New York Daily News describing the campaign as “an outrageous scare tactic by big hotels who themselves have a long history of lodging people who engage in acts of terror” - he cited 9/11 and the 2015 Paris terrorist outrages.
“The fact is Airbnb had nothing to do with the tragic events in Manchester and we are one of the only hospitality companies that runs background checks on all US residents, both hosts and guests. Hotel chief executives have a responsibility to tell us why they don’t do the same and why they continue to fund this sort of despicable, cynical advertising.”
The hotel association says New York City has a $5 billion tourism industry served by around 50,000 employees.
See for yourself - the video is below.