Airbnb and New York hotels clash over 'fear-mongering' Youtube video

Airbnb hits back after a hotel lobby group release an online video claiming to look at the public security threats the startup holds

Shafi Musaddique
Wednesday 09 August 2017 09:11 BST
Lobby Group want to know who is in every AirBnb rental

Airbnb has long irked the hotel industry since the company started over a decade ago. It seems the conflict between traditional hotels and the homes-rental startup may have worsened.

Campaigners supported by the Hotel Association of New York City, a union representing hotel workers, posted a YouTube video suggesting that Airbnb properties presented a public security threat

The 30-second video launches an attack on the startup, citing terrorists using the home-rental service as a "risk".

It uses images and quotes from the Daily Express on the Manchester terror attack earlier in the year linking an Airbnb rental to the attacker, Salman Abedi.

Airbnb issued a statement saying the Manchester flat used by Mr Abedi was not an Airbnb listing, something the startup said it wanted to "make very clear".

The video ends in a quote claiming to be from the NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton dated back to 2015, calling New York City a “number one terrorist target”.

In a letter addressed to hotel chief executives in New York, including Arne Sorenson, chief executive of global hotel brand Marriott International, Airbnb hit back.

“Your ad is misleading, plays to xenophobic fears, and is beneath the dignity of the hospitality industry,” said Nick Shapiro, global head of trust and risk management at Airbnb.

“It is an affront to the victims of terrorism, and its shock and abhorrent xenophobia is only equalled by the irony of it being paid for by hotels, where, as the New York Post recently noted while covering your ad, “lots of terrorists have stayed.”

He added, “Given that you are supporting an ad about terrorism in lodging, do your hotels have a perfect record on this?”

The heated letter from Airbnb went on to point out that whilst no company was perfect, the hotel industry was in no position to lecture the rental startup, saying “hotels do not run background checks on potential guests, nor do they screen guest names against regulatory, terrorist, sanctions, and other global watchlists”.

Mr Shapiro signed off the letter with a strongly worded ending to hotel CEOs: “The fear mongering you have demonstrated does not make us safer.”

Airbnb posted a response video on YouTube, suggesting scare tactics from the hotel lobby group only hurt “everyday new Yorkers trying to make ends meet”

Air Bnb respond to attack ad

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