Hospitality research firm STR released a report this week asserting that Airbnb is having no material impact on hotel room demand in Manhattan, a finding that is being challenged by both national and local hotel industry advocates.
With the average Airbnb nightly rate in the New York borough about $100 less than a typical hotel room, such home-based listings compete with a relatively small percentage of hotels there, according to STR. Specifically, 61% of Airbnb units compete against midscale and economy hotels, which account for just 13% of Manhattan’s hotel-room units, STR found.
In addition, the occupancy rate of Airbnb units is substantially lower than Manhattan’s 87% hotel room occupancy. And while Airbnb’s Manhattan units accounted for about 9% of the borough’s approximately 92,000 lodging spaces (including both hotel rooms and Airbnb units), Airbnb accounted for just 3.5% of Manhattan’s lodging revenue for the year that ended Nov. 30.
Hotel advocates took issue with the conclusions as well as with STR using data directly from Airbnb for the report.
Vijay Dandapani, president of New York-based Apple Core Hotels and chairman of the Hotel Association of New York City, cited Airbnb’s own estimate in mid-December that 47,000 people would be staying with city Airbnb hosts on New Year’s Eve as proof of increased competition.
“That data was cooked up,” Dandapani said about the STR report. “If Airbnb doesn’t have an impact on New York hotels, I’m a monkey’s uncle.”
The STR findings come as many analysts, hotel operators and lodging-industry lobbyists have decried Airbnb as a largely illegal operation because many of its hosts allegedly violate New York’s laws against short-term rentals, citing the city’s recent decline in hotel room rates.
Additionally, while Airbnb has struck agreements to collect occupancy taxes in a few cities such as San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, its relationship with New York, the country’s most lucrative hotel market, has been especially contentious because of the high stakes.