Airbnb deploys portal for cities to review and act on listings

Airbnb is rolling out a new dashboard that will allow participating cities and tourism organizations to directly view and interact with announcements and activities within their jurisdictions.

Why is this important: Municipalities have long demanded direct access to registration information and the ability to take immediate action against those who violate local laws. And Airbnb has long resisted giving it to them.

Go back: In 2015, after a defeat a San Francisco ballot measure who would have imposed stricter limits on short-term rentals, Airbnb has published what it calls its “Community Compact”, a kind of commit to working more with cities and communities to limit the negative effects of rentals.

  • “Five years ago we started to really shift from a different perspective to our responsibility when it comes to sharing information and data about what people are doing in certain communities,” Chris told Axios. Lehane, Head of Global Policy at Airbnb.
  • Since then, it has slowly expanded its collection of hospitality taxes on behalf of cities, implemented tools for host compliance tools, and provided data to municipalities.

Details: Airbnb is first providing the portal to more than a dozen cities and tourism organizations, including San Francisco, Raleigh, Buffalo and Calgary, as part of a test pilot program. Tourist offices include Visit Tampa Bay, the city of Krakow and Visit Tuscany.

  • Each city will have a personalized dashboard displaying Airbnb listings within its jurisdictions and activity data such as average income and where travelers are coming from, as well as a dedicated point of contact at Airbnb to answer any questions. problem or question.
  • Cities will also have the option to take action against particular announcements if they find that they are not compliant, and can block them directly through the dashboard.
  • Airbnb plans to make the portal more widely available after the initial testing schedule, although it declined to provide a specific timeline.

What they say: “Our short-term rentals office saw the tool and they really think it’s going to help a lot,” Jeff Cretan, communications director for San Francisco Mayor London Breed, told Axios.

  • “Right now the way we share information with Airbnb to identify these bad actors is really slow and laborious,” he says of the current method of sending spreadsheets between city and town. business. “It will be much more efficient.

Between the lines: Despite its commitment to playing nice in 2015, Airbnb did not waver in its regulatory battles – even suing its hometown of San Francisco the following year for proposed fines.

  • Yes, but: The powers of municipalities to ban the operation of the business are very real, and this threat is now greater than ever as Airbnb prepares to finally go public.
  • “The city portal is something we’ve been working on for quite some time and it’s a next chapter but also part of the way we’ve come,” said Lehane, declining to comment on whether the IPO is. a deployment factor. this portal.
  • But he called the company’s 2015 election battle “a turning point on the road”, adding that “the biggest learning we learned was that it really behooves us to start working with governments.”

The bottom line: Airbnb has been around for a long time.

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