An Airbnb executive has said that home-sharing is too big to be stopped at an annual company event in Paris.
“Home sharing is a big idea,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s head of public policy and former Clinton White House staffer. “So big that no army could ever really stop it. You are on the side of history.”
The executive made the statement despite the fact that Airbnb has repeatedly clashed with the law over tax arrangements and the legal right for people to let their rooms. His words come weeks after Airbnb won a hard-fought victory in San Francisco, where voters rejected a law that would have placed restriction on the company.
Airbnb encouraged its users to stay united and fight for the right to share their homes at the company annual event in Paris.
“Being a host, a lot of times we’re misunderstood and even attacked,” Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, said.
“People say: ‘I don’t want strangers in my building. I don’t want Airbnb in my neighbourhood,’” he added.
Airbnb has since released a “Community Compact”, or a mission statement to better cooperate with local regulators across countries it operates in.
The three-day event, which began on Thursday in Paris’s Parc de la Villette, was attended by 5,000 Airbnb hosts representing 110 nationalities. It is over four times the size of last year's convention which took place in San Francisco, USA, in another sign that the Airbnb community keeps growing.
Part fan convention, part workshopping seminar, and part advocacy rally, this is the first time the Airbnb Open has been held outside of the USA. Paris being the obvious location as it now has the most listings on the service than any other city in the world – with 60,000 listings.
There are also more Parisians using Airbnb to travel than there are people from any other city.
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