Skift Take

Skift reported last week that hotel rates in NYC were up 6.7% in the first quarter. And Airbnb says that's one sign regulations aren't helping.

Airbnb postings in New York have dwindled after a new law effectively shut down most units. And Jay Carney, global head of policy and communications at the platform, says he loves talking about it. 

“I’m eager to talk about New York City because it’s a proof point that we can point to and for policymakers and other geographies, other cities, and say, ‘This is what you don’t want to do,’” Carney said Wednesday at Skift’s Short-Term Rental Summit in New York. 

“Hotel prices are higher than they’ve ever been there, they’re almost seven and a half percent higher than they were a year ago – that’s a much faster growth in the rate of inflation. It’s had no noticeable data-driven impact on inventory for housing, or no impact on rents, which continue to rise in the city. It’s had this hugely consequential negative impact on hosts, average folks in this city who are just trying to make ends meet.” 

Local Law 18 went into effect in September and requires hosts to register with the city, imposes restrictions on rental durations, and mandates hosts to be present during stays. The law also aims to curb illegal hotels and short-term rentals.

Skift reported last week that hotel rates in NYC were up 6.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier. 

There’s also location to consider. More than 50% of Airbnb units were outside of Manhattan, while hotels are highly concentrated in the borough. 

“All the economic activity that travelers who stayed in Airbnb listings in the boroughs and in the unusual neighborhoods – that then created vitality in those neighborhoods – is now gone. And you’re also seeing travelers having to decide not to come to New York,” Carney said.

There are still some listings in New York for the few that have been able to meet the restrictions, but Carney said the company has only counted on the city for less than 1% of its business, and the company has hope that the situation may change. 

“We hope that over time, because of some of the organic, authentic lobbying, city officials will look at this again and redo the regulation in a way that actually addresses concerned, legitimate concerns around the business, but also allows Airbnbs,” Carney said. 

“We take the long view that the folks will want to come back and have conversations about the right way to do it, having now experienced the wrong way to do it.” 

EU Framework

A recently passed EU-wide framework around short-term rentals “is really helpful, because it provides a system for data sharing for authorities,” Carney said. 

“There are successes and setbacks all the time, because we’re dealing with so many places at once, but in general, like this overarching EU framework, which will take two years to implement, we think is a very positive development.”   

The Paris Olympics

The Paris Olympics will be the single biggest hosting event in Airbnb’s history by a mile, and the company has a team set up just to deal with the massive event.

“We’re also providing an enormous amount of lodging in Paris, and that’s important, because it helps keep prices under control.” He and CEO Brian Chesky met with officials last year to help the city prepare. 

Party Pooper

Airbnb’s party problem hasn’t quite been solved even after putting a ban in place in 2020. 

“We just took a zero tolerance approach to that, and have been very successful in reducing that problem, not to zero, but getting there,” Carney said. “The incident rate is very low, and certainly dramatically lower than it was.”

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Tags: dwell, online travel newsletter, STRS2024, tourism, Travel Trends

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