Airbnb Scored a Big Win in California

By Mike Pomranz |

© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Here’s an eye-popping statistic: According to the SF Gate, Airbnb is currently valued at $25.5 billion. That means it’s worth more than several large hotel chains like Marriott, Starwood or Wyndham. So obviously there’s a lot at stake when cities like San Francisco – the home of Airbnb’s headquarters, no less – try to place restrictions, like limiting rentals to 75 days per year, on short-term rentals like the ones Airbnb facilitates.

Leading up to yesterday’s vote, the company spent $12 million fighting a proposition that would have put further regulations on rentals. And Airbnb’s side won, by a margin of about 55 percent to 45 percent. But despite all the money spent, they already had one major advantage going in. In another crazy stat, according to their own numbers, 138,000 San Francisco city residents had used Airbnb in the past year. Compared to the city’s 446,841 registered voters, that’s a healthy percentage of support – assuming the majority of those people were satisfied with their experience. Let’s be honest: not every Airbnb is perfect.

The company considers the victory a big win. But those massive use numbers work the other way as well: You can be sure hotel chains don’t want to just give up on all that income either. And with so many people using Airbnb, it’s almost inevitable that neighbors and other groups might run into the problem of having a troublesome rental nearby.

So though the fight is almost certainly not over, for now, Airbnb won a big victory. Fans should rent an apartment and throw a giant party to celebrate. Just try not to trash the place.

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