New ad claims Airbnb is good for terrorists

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The hotel industry is holding nothing back in its war against Airbnb.

The Hotel Association of New York City has released an advertisement that ties Airbnb to terrorism, using the recent Manchester bombing to associate the rental business with ways for terrorists to find housing.

Airbnb did not harbor any of the suspects around the bombing, though the company had initially been connected to an apartment that had been raided by police. That apartment turned out not to be an Airbnb, but rather a private room booked through another company.

Still, the ad uses the Manchester bombing to point the finger at Airbnb’s refusal to hand over addresses of listings to law enforcement.

“So who’s in your building? Airbnb won’t say,” the ad shows in its final frame.

The ad, first noticed by the New York Daily News, will reportedly be pushed with a half-million-dollar campaign for ten days in the New York City area.

Airbnb didn’t mince words in pushing back against the ad. Airbnb public policy director Josh Meltzer sent a letter to a group of CEOs of hotels that are a part of the NYC association, as seen by the New York Business Journal.

“First and foremost, Airbnb had nothing to do with this tragedy, and using these attacks in a cynical corporate PR campaign is despicable. Your company and the front groups you fund may oppose Airbnb and middle class people who share their homes, but using a global terrorist attack to protect your bottom line is beyond the pale and should have no place in any civil discourse,” Meltzer wrote.

Airbnb poses a serious threat to the hotel industry, which for decades operated without serious external competition. Now, with Airbnb worth almost twice as much as some of the biggest hotel chains in the world, the hotel industry has ramped up its efforts to force its new rival to abide by local laws … and change customer perception of home-sharing in the process.

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