Airbnb sets sights on Paris and other European cities amid U.S. crackdown

After New York City pulled up the welcome mat, Airbnb is setting its sights on Paris and other points in Europe.

Sep 29, 2023 - 02:30
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Airbnb sets sights on Paris and other European cities amid U.S. crackdown

They'll always have Paris.

When we last left Airbnb  (ABNB) - Get Free Report, the online rental platform had packed up its troubles in its old kitbag and bailed out of New York City.

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The bum's rush came in the form of a city ordinance that required all short-term-rental hosts in the Big Apple to register with the city, live in the place they’re renting, be present when someone is staying, and have only two guests.   

When defending the rules in court, city officials have cited thousands of illegal short-term rentals, noting 43,000 on just Airbnb in 2018. New York received nearly 12,000 complaints regarding illegal short-term rentals from 2017 to 2021.

Tough times in New York for Airbnb

The Big Apple approved just over 400 short-term rentals amid the crackdown on unauthorized listings across Airbnb and other booking platforms, Gothamist reported, citing data released on Sept. 27.

The city’s Office of Special Enforcement said it approved just 405 of the 4,624 applications it received from landlords and tenants, who attempted to legally register their units on Airbnb, Vrbo and other sites in the months since the city launched a registration portal in March.

The agency rejected 214 submissions and sent another 758 back to applicants to make corrections or add information. The vast majority of applications are still awaiting review, according to the agency.

Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky said he was saddened and disappointed by the city's decision. 

“I think that we always were willing to come back to the table if another side is — but we are going to be working with cities all over the world, and thousands of other cities have chosen to go a different direction," he said in an interview with Skift

Chesky said Airbnb, which joined the S&P 500 earlier this month, has worked with other cities on regulations that have led to netting $5 billion in hotel taxes, among other changes. He says New York City was not as cooperative as it could have been.

Airbnb: Heading to the City of Light

“System by system, I think there are really sensible solutions,” he said. “I think, unfortunately, New York is no longer leading the way — it’s probably a cautionary tale.”

Okay, so New York looks to be off the list. Where does the company want to set up shop next?

Well, like our dear friend Anonymous once said, "a bad day in Paris is still a good day anywhere else," and that's where Chesky said the company was headed — the City of Light as well as other places in Europe as part of a tour of the Continent.

As part of his Toulouse-Lautrek, the chief executive was in Paris helping the city plan for what is expected to be a big surge of tourists for the 2024 Olympics.

And he's doing everything he can-can to make it work.

“We’re estimating over half a million people will stay in Airbnb over a three-week period. So we’re working really hard with them,” he said. “Paris is the No. 1 city in the world, and we’re expecting it to become even larger because of the Olympics.”

During the company's second-quarter-earnings call in August, Chesky told analysts that guests were traveling farther and staying longer on Airbnb: "[Millions] of people remain flexible about where they live and work, and we see this reflected in our bookings."

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