But the insane growth just keeps on.
In the summer of 2010, three years after the company started in San Francisco, about 47,000 people stayed with an Airbnb host. Last summer, almost 17 million people stayed at an Airbnb. It’s the biggest competitor to Austin-based VRBO HomeAway, though the HomeAway folks look down their noses at Airbnb somewhat.
The mainstream tourist industry reminds me of the established taxi companies who fought Uber and Lyft: they are stuck with an uneven playing field having to charge hotel taxes and buckle under regulation, unlike their Airbnb buds. This often makes Airbnb a more economical option for travelers.
But what if your temporary landlord ends up being Norman Bates?
Well, that playing field is leveling somewhat: in February of 2016, Chicago adopted a 4.5 percent hotel tax , now included in the price of a Chicago Airbnb listing.
The tax changed the rentals not one iota: Chicago continues to have a high Airbnb occupancy rate compared to other cities. And Chicago has great hotels.
Even Airbnb’s hometown San Francisco, in 2014, made short-term rentals legal, but slapped on restrictions such as limiting spaces to be rented up to 90 days per year, if the owner is not present.
In 2015, another amendment was proposed to further reduce the 90 days to 75 days, but the amendment was not passed. But in June of this year, a new law was endorsed that put the burden on Airbnb to verify if hosts are registered with the city, which is a requirement for short-term rentals.
And now comes Arizona … (more…)