Airbnb is mounting an economic impact charm offensive in response to scrutiny from regulators in New York.
The company said today that it generated $632 million in yearly economic activity in New York – note that this is not revenue, but a larger concept of spending by tourists who stay in local accommodations via Airbnb – and that guests paid $31 million in sales taxes.
That’s according to a study, conducted by HR&A Advisors and paid for by Airbnb, that looked at the year-long period ending in July 2013.
The context for the study is that Airbnb has legally filed objection to the New York State attorney general, who subpoenaed user data in an attempt to root out illegal hosts. The peer-to-peer company said the demands are too broad. A crackdown on the tourist mecca of New York could have significant impact for Airbnb, which was valued at $2.7 billion last year.
Besides the economic impact, the question is exactly how peer-driven Airbnb is, or whether it’s just another site for professional rental agencies to find more business.
According to this new Airbnb study, 87 percent of Airbnb hosts rent out the home in which they live. So: The vast majority.
To further make those hosts sympathetic, HR&A Advisors found that 62 percent of hosts said that Airbnb “helps them stay in their homes” and 50 percent are “non-traditional workers,” i.e., freelancers and students. The typical New York Airbnb host earns $7,530 per year.
Meanwhile, a petition protesting the New York crackdown, from the advocacy group Peers and distributed to members by Airbnb, has attracted more than 73,000 signatures.