Thursday, January 22, 2015
Airbnb, the room sharing service based out of San Francisco, has a PR challenge in New York City. Hundreds of tenants are angry over other tenants renting out their rooms through the service. The angry tenants claim that Airbnb is reducing the amount of affordable housing in New York City because landlords would rather let apartments for a night at a higher price than they can get for monthly rental income. Irate tenants also claim that many of the Airbnb rooms are rented in violation of New York City law. This is a problem for the company because New York is a desirable market for its room-sharing service. The cost of hotel rooms is high and a traveler can get an Airbnb room for much less. Meeting the PR challenge will require ground-pounding work -- getting out into the buildings where tenants are letting rooms and finding out just how serious the problem might be. It also might require lobbying to get the law changed or modified. It will require working closely with city authorities to make sure that it remains on the right side of regulations. Press releases and presentations are not nearly enough.