Airbnb, which has a valuation of around $10 billion, has been on hotel owners' radar for some time. But so far, the wildly successful short-term rental booking site has managed to avoid significant conflict with the industry.
In a message to members, the American Hotel & Lodging Association identified Airbnb by name, saying short-term online rental marketplaces are "technically illegal, but lax enforcement of existing laws has allowed these entities to grow exponentially in size."
The association, which represents more than 52,000 properties, said it would "highlight the bad, unfair and in some cases unlawful business practices employed by short-term online rental companies and the lack of parity between safety, security, tax, and other requirements for hotels and short-term online rentals," according to travel site Tnooz.
In statements to Mashable, both AH&LA and Airbnb focused on promoting tourism and improving customer experiences, instead of commenting on growing tension between the two.
"Over 11 million guests have had a safe, positive experience on Airbnb. We help promote positive experiences through a global trust and safety team available 24/7, authentic reviews, verified profile information, and the $1 Million Host Guarantee," an Airbnb spokesperson wrote in an email. "The data show hotels are thriving as the sharing economy grows. We can and should work together to promote travel and tourism."
Working together, however, is not what the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has in mind.
In her statement, AH&LA President and CEO Katherine Lugar focused on how the hotel industry is looking to improve customer experiences.
The message to members, however, identifies key areas where the association plans to fight short-term rentals. The plan includes a campaign to target cities and regions to "engage in select tax, safety and health fights at the council level to preempt other deals being sought by short-term online rental companies."
AH&LA also wants to push federal government to regulate short-term online rentals the same ways hotels are regulated, and highlight innovation within the hotel sector.
Airbnb is not interested in a fight, but an organized effort by hotels with public campaigns and local government lobbying will heat things up.
Por Jessica Plautz