After weeks of speculation, Airbnb has admitted in a pair of letters sent to state legislators and Airbnb users in New York that it purged roughly 1,500 listings ahead of releasing data to regulators. According to Bloomberg, Airbnb reportedly kicked off 622 hosts in a purge in November 2015. The company said it removed the listings that appeared to be controlled by commercial operators, and did not reflect its vision of the Airbnb community. Given the lack of complete transparency from the company, it has been a challenge to determine whether recent studies truly reflect the short-term rental service’s impact on the hotel industry. According to Amanda Hite, president and COO of STR, the data purge should not have significantly altered the accuracy of STR’s recent research on Airbnb’s impact on the Manhattan hotel market.
“The dataset Airbnb released to the city of New York is related to all units; however, the dataset STR analyzed was available units. This only would have affected one month out of the 24 months we analyzed. STR was provided with number of guestnights available, the number of guestnights sold, and revenue for each guestnight covering all available units,” says Hite.
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With Donald Trump leading the GOP race for the White House, the Trump brand and its business dealings are getting the harsh spotlight treatment. The New York Times delves into Trump’s real estate deals in New York City, citing previous bankruptcies and his propensity for litigation as cause for his lack of a presence there. Meanwhile, Bloomberg looks at Trump’s global business, where the millions made on his name has been offset by a number of losses and lawsuits. And in Las Vegas, the workers at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas called attention to their efforts to unionize while the national media was focused on the Nevada GOP caucus. Read more here.
Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s operating unit has been battling in bankruptcy court for more than a year now, but an end to the Chapter 11 restructuring of the division may be in sight with the upcoming release of a court-appointed examiner’s report, writes the Wall Street Journal. Examiner Richard Davis, a restructuring lawyer who has spent the last year investigating a series of disputed deals between Caesars and its operating unit, plans to share his findings by the end of the month. Junior creditors allege the parent company had illegally shuffled assets between units prior to filing so they would be beyond their reach. Caesars’s parent has defended the deals as proper and necessary to shore up its operating unit. While not legally binding, the report is expected to outline potential legal claims related to the deals, which could help drive the negotiation process forward. Caesars Entertainment placed its operating unit under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in January 2015 to cut $10 billion of debt. To read more, click here.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is the latest brand to do away with on-demand adult entertainment. IHG is banning the pay-per-view programming at its 5,000 properties, including the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands. The company already had a standard that compelled franchisees not to offer explicit content, but it was not followed at every hotel. With its new policy, the brand enforces the rule, strictly penalizing any franchisee who goes against the standard. InterContinental joins Hilton and Hyatt in banning adult content. To read more, click here.
Although the number of Airbnb guests in Japan jumped 500 percent last year, the company is still facing issues in the country. Some communities are banning vacation rentals altogether, as they maintain that the public should stay in hotels, not exclusive apartment complexes. Airbnb is also having difficulty with Japanese public authorities, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet nailing down plans to regulate rental services. While the details are still being sorted, CNN Money reports that the rules under discussion include a minimum stay of one week and a limit on how small the room can be. With issues hovering over the short-term rental service, tourists visiting Japan just might opt for a hotel instead. Read more here.
The mass shooting in Kalamazoo, Mich., over the weekend is renewing questions over the sharing economy’s employment and safety practices. The alleged shooter was an Uber driver who reportedly had been driving passengers before and after he shot and killed six people Saturday night. He passed Uber’s internal background check and had no criminal record, according to a company statement. The incident comes just weeks after Uber settled two class-action lawsuits after the company was accused of exaggerating the safety of its background checks, and while it fights an Austin, Texas, proposal to fingerprint its drivers. Like businesses have shielded their liability from worker conduct on the grounds that drivers and hosts work as independent contractors. Read more here.