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Travel Industry Roundup | November 11

This week’s round up focuses on Airbnb. The world’s second most valuable startup has grown into one of the biggest players in travel accommodation. But that growth has come quickly, before the legal status of short-term apartment rentals could be settled. Now, as new research shows just how prevalent Airbnb use has become, the company faces a crackdown from lawmakers in San Francisco and New York State.

Airbnb Usage Is Increasing Among Corporate Travelers

Analysis of expense data from Concur shows that employees at more organizations are using Airbnb. The number of companies at which a traveler expensed an Airbnb increased 32% between Q2 2015 and Q2 2016. Even more significant was the amount these companies spent with Airbnb, which increased 42% year over year. These figures indicate that Airbnb’s recent efforts to win over business travelers have gotten some traction. Rocketrip’s own data shows that business travelers who stay at an Airbnb save more than $100 per night on hotel costs.

Measuring the Airbnb Effect in Britain

A study from World Travel Market looks at one particular market, Britain, and shows that Airbnb usage is still far from commonplace. Only 12% of people surveyed had used Airbnb, and although 60% of those people said they would use Airbnb again, less than one in five people who had not used Airbnb said they are considering it for the future; that's less than the three in ten who said they have no intention of trying Airbnb.

Challenge to New York Short-Term Rental Ban

Last month New York State passed a bill making it illegal to list entire apartments on Airbnb and other home-sharing services for fewer than 30 days. Room rentals, or apartment sharing in which the owner is present, would not be affected by the law. New York City is Airbnb’s largest U.S. market. The ban there on short-term rentals follows similar restrictions in Berlin, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. Airbnb has filed a lawsuit against New York, alleging that ambiguous wording in the bill might lead to punishment for third-party listing sites, rather than the offending landlord. Airbnb and New York are now in talks to settle.

Setback for Airbnb in San Francisco

Airbnb has been rebuffed in its challenge to a similar law in San Francisco. The city had passed a measure that would punish Airbnb for collecting booking fees from hosts who failed to register their rentals in the city. Airbnb had requested a court order against the law on First Amendment grounds; the rental site argues it’s just a platform for user-generated content. But U.S. District Judge James Donato has rejected that claim, a decision that could have implications in other markets, including New York.

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