President and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) Chip Rogers issued the following statement in response to Airbnb’s acquisition of Hotel Tonight:
Airbnb’s latest scheme is just further proof the company is playing in the hotel space while evading industry regulations. It’s also likely a realization by Airbnb that their current business model is flawed with its reliance on income from illegal activity by commercial investors using their site. We’re not surprised by this move given major cities, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. just passed strong short-term rental laws last year to rein in Airbnb. Not to mention they are facing an outcry from a broad-based coalition of residents, affordable housing, labor and community leaders about their negative impact on housing and neighborhoods across the country. This move is likely a knee-jerk reaction to offset their financial losses when these regulations take effect this year and in anticipation of other major cities likely to pass similar laws.
If Airbnb wants to enter the hotel business, then it needs to do so on a level playing field and be regulated, taxed and subject to the same safety compliances and oversight that law-abiding hotel companies adhere to each and every day.