Did Airbnb Depress Hotel Rates?

Airbnb-a8707ed9_originalFor the first time, I've seen a claim that Airbnb has affected hotel rates in New York City. A New York Post article, "Airbnb's cheap rates hurt Big Apple hotels big time," says that it's 1.7% less expensive to stay in a hotel in NYC this year than it was last year. Hotel stake owner  Richard Born says, "If Airbnb were to go away, room rates would go up by 15 percent." 

Students may see this as a single-cause fallacy, and they may be right: new hotel development added 30,000 rooms to the city this year. But Mark VanStekelenburg, managing director of CBRE Hotels, points to Airbnb's $80-per-room average rate and says that Airbnb rooms "account for" between 12 and 20% of all hotel rooms. 

Born also says, "Anyone who says Airbnb is not affecting NYC hotels is an idiot or hired by Airbnb to say that." 

Image source.

Discussion Starters: 

  • Do you believe that Airbnb is to blame for declining NYC hotel rates? Why or why not? 
  • What are the implications either way? How, if at all, should Airbnb respond to these accusations?