U.S. Mayors Hear Airbnb Arguments

Airbnb reportAmerican mayors heard arguments about Airbnb's short-term rental business and have to decide whether it's good for their cities. Airbnb argues that the business brings millions of dollars in tax revenue to municipalities. If the company is allowed to continue connecting hosts and guests online, according to Chris Lehane, Airbnb's head of global policy, hotel, tourist and occupancy taxes could mount to $200 million a year.

The opposing view at the mayor's conference was led by Katherine Lugar, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. According to a Penn State study, many of Airbnb hosts are professional landlords who rent rooms illegally and have made more than $500 million in revenue: "Our data is showing a tremendous growth of commercial operators who are exploiting sites like Airbnb to avoid paying taxes, following zoning rules and following basic laws for health and safety."

Airbnb is working through local organizations to fight restrictions, but short-term rentals have been banned in several municipalities.

Discussion Starters:

  • Read the Penn State report. How does it provide evidence for AHLA's point of view? How does it fall short?
  • Analyze the graphics used in the report. Which principles of creating infographics from Chapter 9 are used?