Airbnb to create 100 clubs in US to advocate for home-sharing

Plans come after company wins battle against a measure to limit short-term home and room rentals in San Francisco

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 November, 2015, 6:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 November, 2015, 6:24pm

Airbnb said it plans to form 100 home-sharing clubs in cities across the United States during 2016, seeking to organise advocates of home- and room-sharing companies to head off regulatory crackdowns.

These clubs are an extension of the US$8.4 million campaign Airbnb organised before a vote on November 3 in San Francisco, which included an initiative to restrict short-term rentals.

The company won that battle, with Proposition F, a measure to limit short-term rentals to 75 nights a year, defeated 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

“We're going to use the momentum of what took place here to do what we did in San Francisco around the world,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb's global policy chief who led the campaign.

The home-sharing clubs will be organised and supported by Airbnb and run by hosts and guests who use the website.

Lehane declined to say how much the community home-sharing advocacy clubs would cost, but said, “we'll spend what it takes to succeed”.

In San Francisco, Airbnb outspent Proposition F supporters by more than 30 times, organising 2,000 volunteers and knocking on about 285,000 doors.

“It's not a question of if but more a question of when those conversations will take place,” Lehane said.

Fending off restrictions is particularly important in light of steeper competition from Expedia, which on November 4 said it would buy holiday rental site HomeAway for about US$3.9 billion in cash and stock.

The move is expected to extend HomeAway's reach and help Expedia compete for customers that use Airbnb.