Paying Our Fair Share in Washington State

You shouldn’t need to hire a lawyer and an accountant just to share your extra bedroom, but many hotel and tourist tax rules were designed for big corporations with teams of lawyers and accountants. We want to simplify the process. For more than a year, we have been working with cities and counties around the globe to add more jurisdictions to the list of places where we can help hosts collect and remit hotel taxes.

Today, we are happy to announce that on October 15, Airbnb will begin collecting and remitting certain taxes that apply to lodging on behalf of hosts statewide in Washington. The taxes we will collect and remit include state and local combined retail sales tax, and all city and county-imposed taxes on lodging authorized by state law, including  special hotel/motel taxes, convention and trade center taxes, regional transit authority taxes, and tourism promotion area charges.

Guests will be charged the appropriate taxes on their Airbnb bill and we will then remit to the State the taxes collected.

Here’s what Seattle Mayor Ed Murray had to say about the news:

“As Airbnb’s presence grows in our city, I appreciate their willingness to step forward voluntarily to ensure that the appropriate taxes are being collected on short-term rentals in Seattle and across the state. At the City, we have already begun conversations with Airbnb to build on this agreement by establishing a clear and fair regulatory framework that will enable people to continue sharing their homes.”

We’re happy to be taking this step to help our host community and we know the Airbnb community is making Washington stronger. Home sharing allows people to turn what is generally one of their greatest expenses into a tool to help make ends meet. Most Airbnb hosts are middle class residents who share their homes to pay the bills. Meanwhile, Airbnb guests generate sustainable, local economic activity that supports small businesses who haven’t benefitted from tourism in the past.

Airbnb first began collecting and remitting hotel and tourist taxes from guests on behalf of hosts in San Francisco and Portland. Since then we have worked together with forward-thinking authorities on similar initiatives in Amsterdam, Chicago, Malibu, North Carolina, Oakland, Oregon, Palo Alto, Paris, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Rhode Island, San Diego, San Jose, and Washington D.C. We are also collaborating with policymakers on similar initiatives around the globe.

As we move forward, we’ll continue our work with leaders in Washington on common sense rules for home sharing. We are confident that we can work together on some simple policies that embrace home sharing and make Washington communities stronger.

Home Sharing: An Opportunity to Showcase the Best of Taiwan

The sharing economy is transforming many aspects of our lives. As well as changing the way we work, travel and go on holiday, it’s enabling a wide range of new interactions and transactions, allowing consumers to become producers and helping a generation of new microentrepreneurs to make best use of their assets. As fast as it’s changing lives, policy makers around the world are working to harness the positive impacts of this new economy.

Airbnb is a well-known sharing economy platform that empowers regular people to use their home – typically their greatest expense – to make a little supplemental income to help make ends meet, save for retirement and pursue their dreams. For travellers, it gives them the chance to experience new cities and cultures by staying in the homes of local residents, which are typically outside the regular tourist hotspots. It’s also spreading economic benefits to new families, communities and local business – people who haven’t enjoyed the economic benefits of tourism before.

More than 50 million people across the world have travelled on Airbnb and on our peak night this summer, almost one million guests stayed in Airbnb listings around the world. This isn’t a new phenomenon – people have been sharing their homes for thousands of years – but the internet and new technologies have made it safer, easier and more convenient for millions of people to travel the world and stay in each others’ homes.

As more and more people share their homes, we have worked with policy makers around the world on new, progressive rules for home sharing, including the UK, France, Amsterdam and cities in the United States. These rules recognise that Airbnb hosts are not businesses or professionals – they are regular people who need clear rules that are easy to follow.

In Taiwan, the popularity of home sharing continues to grow. Airbnb guests in Taiwan increased by almost 400 percent in the past year, and the number of local residents sharing their homes increased by over 150 percent. Residents in Taiwan also enjoy travelling on Airbnb – the number of Airbnb guests originating from Taiwan also increased by over 250 percent last year.

But the rules for home sharing in Taiwan are complex and can be confusing for regular people to follow. They were designed for a different industry in a different era, and don’t fit this new activity. We want to work together with everyone in Taiwan on progressive, new rules for home sharing, just like we have done already with other Governments around the world.

Tonight, Airbnb will attend the Virtual World Law Adjustment Consulting Meeting with Minister Jaclyn Tsai, where we will discuss the rules for home sharing and how Airbnb and the Government can work together to support local residents who share their homes. We are grateful for this opportunity and applaud the Government for wanting to understand more about the home sharing community and the benefits it brings to Taiwan.

By working together on news rules that befit Taiwan’s global reputation for innovation, we believe we can nurture the positive impacts of home sharing and support local hosts who share their homes and the cities they love with guests from around the world.


Airbnb亞太區公共政策總監 Mike Orgill

共享經濟 (sharing economy) 使得我們生活中的眾多面向已然轉變,一方面來說它改變了我們工作、旅遊、度假的方式;另一方面來說,它也促成了廣泛的互動與交易形態,讓消費者成為生產者,也讓新一代的微型創業家得以將自己的資產做最佳利用。由於共享經濟快速改變了現代人的生活,全球的政策制定者也努力希望駕馭此種新形態經濟的正面影響。

Airbnb 正是一個知名的共享經濟平台,對一般人來說,住家通常是最大的支出項目,而 Airbnb 讓一般人有機會利用自家資產而創造額外收入,達到收支平衡,甚至存下一筆退休金或是用這些收入來追求夢想。而對於旅人來說,Airbnb 提供了他們可住在當地居民家中的機會,這些住家多半位於熱門觀光景點以外的區域,讓旅人可真正體驗不同的城市面貌與文化風味。此外,透過Airbnb,經濟效益就可擴散予更多過去未能享受觀光所帶來收益的新家庭、社區與當地商店。

時至今日,全球已有超過 5 千萬人透過 Airbnb 找到旅行途中的住宿地點。而今夏最忙碌的一夜,幾乎有高達 1 百萬人透過 Airbnb 找到遍佈全世界的住處。其實這並不是一個新的現象,人類數千年來都不斷分享自己的住家給他人,只是網際網路與現代科技讓分享變得更安全、簡單、方便,有助數百萬的旅人遊歷天下,分享住家。

正因為有越來越多的人分享自己的住家,我們已和全球政策制定者共同研擬與分享住家相關的進步、嶄新規定,其中包括英國、法國、荷蘭阿姆斯特丹與美國多個城市的當局。這些規定瞭解到 Airbnb 屋主並非營業單位或專業人士,他們是一般人民,他們需要的是清楚簡單、容易遵循的規定。

在台灣,共享住家的風潮也方興未艾。過去一年來,透過Airbnb 找到台灣住處的房客增加了將近 4 倍,分享住家的台灣人則增加超過 150%。台灣人本身也喜愛透過 Airbnb 來旅遊,去年 Airbnb 的台灣人房客人數成長了超過 250%。

然而,台灣的共享住家相關規定卻較複雜,對於一般人而言易造成混淆,不易遵守。這些規定設置之初,是為了當時不同年代的不同產業所設計的,並不適用於新的共享住家模式。Airbnb 希望能與台灣所有有關當局與人士一起為共享住家研擬進步、嶄新的規定,正如我們已與世界多國政府共同擬定了相關規定。

Airbnb 於今日晚間將與蔡玉玲政委一同出席「虛擬法規調適會議」,我們會討論共享住家的規定,以及 Airbnb 與台灣政府可以如何一起協助願意分享住家的台灣人。 我們很感謝有此良機參與會議,亦肯定政府願意多加瞭解共享住家社群和共享住家效益的心意。


Housing and the Airbnb Community in Los Angeles

Home sharing allows people to turn what is typically one of their greatest expenses into a tool to help make ends meet. Almost half of Airbnb hosts in Los Angeles work in the arts, entertainment and recreation industries. While most hosts use Airbnb to pay the bills, their guests generate sustainable, local economic activity that supports small businesses in many neighborhoods that haven’t benefited from tourism in the past.

But many home sharing opponents continue to make inaccurate statements about our community and our impact in Los Angeles. Opponents have asserted that Airbnb is removing ‘thousands of housing units’ from the rental market, a statement that is both baseless and mathematically impossible.

We wanted to learn more about our community in Los Angeles. Recently, our team of data scientists worked with members of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. They analyzed Airbnb data, publicly available census and community survey data, as well as third-party data to comprehensively understand the impact of the Airbnb community on housing in Los Angeles.

Here are some highlights from this work:

  • Most entire home listings are rented only occasionally. 92% of Airbnb entire home listings are rented on a short-term basis for less than six months months of the year. In fact, 80 percent of entire home listings are rented less than 90 nights per year. Entire home listings do not represent housing units taken off the market, but rather the homes of regular citizens that are rented during the resident’s vacation, work assignment, or other temporary absence.

  • According to our analysis, a housing unit in the City of Los Angeles would need to be rented more than 177 nights annually on a short-term basis in order to make it financially beneficial to convert from a long-term rental to a short-term rental. Although the average break even point in the City of Los Angeles is 177 days, in the neighborhoods where Airbnb is most popular, the break even point is typically higher – for example, in Venice, Hollywood, and Echo Park, a housing unit would need to be rented more than 220 nights annually to make it financially beneficial to convert from a long-term rental to a short-term rental.

  • Only 0.05 percent of all housing units in the City of Los Angeles are rented more than 177 days on a short-term basis via Airbnb

  • Similarly, less than 1 percent of vacant housing units in the City of Los Angeles are rented more than 177 days on a short-term basis via Airbnb.

  • From 2005 to 2013 the vacancy rate in Los Angeles has remained essentially unchanged, further underscoring that the Airbnb community has no material impact on housing availability in the City of Los Angeles. If landlords were converting long-term housing into short-term rentals, this number would have increased.

  • Asserting that the decades-long challenge of affordable housing is the result of a couple thousand middle class families sharing the home in which they live does a disservice to the broader problem. We look forward to working with everyone on smart, fair rules for home sharing.

Download the entire report and preface from UCLA Professor Paavo Monkkonen here.


Airbnb Guests in Korea

Earlier this year, we shared news from new poll data that showed overwhelming support for home sharing and Airbnb in Korea. This poll found that more than 80% of Korea residents support allowing locals to occasionally share their space with visitors from around the world and showed that the vast majority of residents believe Airbnb is creating a new and different form of tourism in Korea that helps people build friendships and connections. This is helping more people to experience the true heart of this great country and unlocking new opportunities for regular, local people to share their homes and show the world what true Korean hospitality is all about.

Today, we are releasing new data about Airbnb guests in Korea and why they chose to stay in the homes of local residents. It confirms what we hear from our community everyday – that Airbnb brings respectful guests to Korea who want a unique opportunity to experience authentic Korean hospitality and to live like a local. Between May 2014 and April 2015, 178,300 Airbnb guests stayed in the homes of local Korean residents. Many embarked on their first trip to the country and said that their experience on Airbnb made them more likely to return.

You can check out the infographic here. Some of the highlights about Airbnb guests who visit Korea include:

  • The average age of Airbnb guests in Korea is 30
  • 75% of all guests have at least a college degree
  • 44% of international guests are embarking on their first trip to Korea
  • 20% would have spent less time on their trip without Airbnb
  • 90% were looking for more amenities than provided by a traditional hotel

Airbnb guests want authentic, local experiences and to build new friendships across cultural barriers:

  • 90% say they want to live like a local
  • 86% chose Airbnb because they wanted to experience Korean hospitality
  • 78% of international guests said their experience with Airbnb made them want to return to Korea

Airbnb guests support local businesses and spend more than traditional international visitors to Korea:

  • Airbnb guests spend 27% more than traditional international visitors in Korea
  • 32% of daytime spending is in the neighbourhood in which they stay

Korea has a global reputation for hospitality and a history that is built on sharing, so it’s no surprise that visitors to Korea are choosing to enjoy authentic Korean hospitality in the homes of local people – beyond the tourist hotspots. It’s also no surprise that their experience with Airbnb makes them want to return to Korea.

More and more cities are embracing home sharing and giving guests from around the world the chance to enjoy this unique and authentic travel experience. We look forward to working with everyone in Korea on modern rules for home sharing so more visitors from around can enjoy this exciting country like a local.


제목: 에어비앤비를 통해 한국을 여행하는 게스트

작성자: 이상현

안녕하세요. 에어비앤비의 이상현입니다.

올해 초였던 걸로 기억합니다. 에어비앤비의 숙소 공유 개념에 대한 한국의 폭발적인 반응을 증명하는 여론조사 데이터를 여러분과 공유했었지요. 당시 조사에 의하면 한국 주민의 80%가 전세계 여행자들이 간헐적으로 일반 가정을 숙소로 공유하거나 임차하는 것을 허용하는 데에 동의한다고 합니다. 그리고 대다수의 주민들이 에어비앤비가 전세계인이 우정과 인맥으로 맺어지는 새로운 관광 패러다임을 만들고 있다고 믿고 있습니다.

오늘 저희는 한국의 에어비앤비 게스트들에 대한 새로운 조사 자료와 함께 왜 그들이 한국 여행 시 일반인의 가정에서 지내기를 선택했는지를 알려드리려고 합니다. 조사 결과는 저희가 매번 커뮤니티를 통해 듣던 말과 다르지 않았습니다. 즉 한국 문화를 존중하는 게스트들이 에어비앤비를 이용함으로써 한국인의 따뜻한 환영과 현지인의 삶을 직접 경험하는 기회를 갖기 위해 한국 방문을 선택했다는 것입니다. 2014년 5월과 2015년 4월 사이에 178,300명의 에어비앤비 게스트가 한국 내 일반 가정에서 여행 가방을 풀었습니다. 그 중 많은 분들이 한국을 처음 방문한 여행자들로 에어비앤비 숙소 숙박을 통해 유쾌한 경험을 해 다시 한국을 방문하고 싶다는 답변을 주셨습니다. 저희가 인포그래픽으로 구성한 여론조사의 결과를 여기에서 확인하시기 바랍니다. 그리고 아래는 한국을 방문한 에어비앤비 게스트에 관하여 이번 조사에서 파악된 주요 정보들입니다.

  • 한국을 방문한 에어비앤비 게스트의 평균 연령은 30세입니다.
  • 게스트의 75%가 대졸 이상의 학력을 소유하고 있습니다.
  • 외국 국적을 가진 게스트 중 44%가 이번 여행이 첫 한국 방문이라고 합니다.
  • 게스트의 20%가 에어비앤비를 사용하지 않았다면 체류기간이 더 짧았을 거라고 합니다.
  • 게스트의 90%가 일반 호텔이 제공하는 것보다 에어비앤비 숙소에서 더 많은 물품/시설을 기대합니다.

아래 자료에서 보시는 바와 같이 에어비앤비 게스트들은 현지인의 생활과 삶을 직접 경험하고 문화적 장벽을 넘어 친구를 사귀기를 원합니다.

  • 게스트의 90%가 현지인처럼 살아보기를 원한다고 말했습니다
  • 게스트의 86%가 한국인들의 따뜻한 정을 경험하고 싶어 에어비앤비를 선택했다고 합니다
  • 외국 국적을 가진 게스트 중 78%가 에어비앤비를 통한 경험 때문에 한국을 재방문하고 싶다고 말했습니다

에어비앤비 게스트들은 지역 경제에 도움을 주며 한국 내에서 기존 외국인 방문객들보다 더 많은 액수의 경제적 소비 활동을 합니다.

  • 에어비앤비 게스트들은 기존 외국인 방문객들보다 27% 더 많은 액수의 금액을 소비합니다
  • 게스트들은 하루 활동 시간 중 32%를 숙소 주변 지역에서 보냅니다

현재 세계적으로 일고 있는 숙소 공유 열풍은 현 여행 시장의 가장 핵심적인 트렌드입니다. 한국에서도 하루 빨리 합리적이고 현대적인 숙소 공유 문화가 온전히 자리잡아 보다 많은 세계인이 한국의 고유한 아름다움을 몸소 느끼고 돌아갈 수 있도록 에어비앤비가 최선을 다하겠습니다.

여행자들의 편리함과 합리성이 극대화될 수 있는 현대식 규정을 마련해 호스트와 게스트 모두가 행복할 수 있는 시스템을 정립하겠습니다.

정책부문 총괄 이상현

Announcing a New Neighborhood Tourism Initiative in Brooklyn

Last night we announced a new partnership program with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to connect our host community with local businesses throughout Brooklyn. This is a pilot project that we hope to take to off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods and small businesses throughout the world.

We know that travelers use Airbnb because they want to live like a local and explore a neighborhood that’s off the beaten path.  Brooklyn is home to some of the most interesting neighborhoods in the world, and visitors are looking for the authentic and truly local experience that Airbnb hosts provide.

In fact, last year nearly one-third of Airbnb visitors to New York chose Brooklyn as their primary destination, and nearly half of all Airbnb visitors to New York City paid a visit to Brooklyn on their trip. That generated $199 million in economic activity throughout the borough last year.

Brooklyn is becoming a more popular tourist destination every year and Airbnb is committed to working with our community of local hosts – and now the Brooklyn small business community – to foster that growth across the borough’s diverse neighborhoods.

The more we can help our hosts connect with the local business community – the better experiences and insights they can provide their guests. That is why we are partnering with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. .

Airbnb will be the primary sponsor of the Chamber’s new Explore BK website and campaign—providing not only financial resources, but also innovative content for the website like our Brooklyn Local List map and recommendations from local hosts, like Oscar, and small business owners on what to do in the borough. Our hosts have so many insights about why tourists visit Brooklyn, what they want to do here, and how they behave, and we want to share those insights with local Brooklyn businesses and help them engage with tourist spending.

To that end, we are also launching a Neighborhood Tourism Fellowship in collaboration with the Chamber. Airbnb is providing a grant to support the work of a Neighborhood Tourism Fellow who will work with local Brooklyn businesses to help them engage with visitors and benefit from tourism in the borough.

We’re proud to be working together with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to launch this website and further the massive economic impact of tourism throughout the diverse neighborhoods of this borough.

The announcement was made during the launch event of the newly redesigned website, Brooklyn’s dedicated tourism portal.

Milan Embraces Airbnb and Simplifies Home Sharing Rules

Today, I’m pleased to share news that Milan and the Lombardy region have approved new rules that embrace home sharing and Airbnb. The new rules confirm that Lombardy residents can share their homes, and lay the foundation for future collaboration between Airbnb and local cities on further measures to support local Airbnb hosts.

Our community in Milan and Lombardy is already bringing tremendous benefits to the region –  figures show they have already helped accommodate 400,000 visitors to the region over the last 12 months. But the rules for home sharing in Lombardy were confusing, including complex registration requirements. They were designed for businesses and professionals, and could be difficult for regular people to understand.

The new rules exempt home sharing from these measures in favour of simple, streamlined processes. They recognise that Airbnb hosts are not businesses or professionals, they are regular people sharing their homes and using the money they earn to help makes ends meet.

The new rules clarify that:

  • Lombardy residents are free to share their homes
  • Home sharing is classified as a non-professional activity
  • Hosts will not have to comply with complex registration requirements designed for professionals, or have to display signage outside their homes
  • Hosts will benefit from new, streamlined notification requirements, designed for regular people.

We applaud the Lombardy Commission for supporting local hosts with these progressive new rules and look forward to working with cities across the region on further measures to support home sharing. The region joins a growing list of destinations in Europe that are implementing modern rules that embrace home sharing, including London, Amsterdam, France and Portugal.

Airbnb Community Gives a Boost to Chicago Economy

Today, we’re releasing a new study highlighting the many benefits that home sharing brings to Chicago’s economy.

Home sharing allows people to turn what is generally one of their greatest expenses into a tool to help make ends meet. Many Airbnb hosts are middle class residents who share their homes to pay the bills. Meanwhile, Airbnb guests generate sustainable, local economic activity that supports small businesses.

This new study, based on data from July 2014 to June 2015, found that Airbnb generated $209 million in economic activity in Chicago and supported 2,100 jobs. Chicago is home to approximately 4,500 hosts. Over this same time period, 165,000 visitors stayed in an Airbnb listing when they visited Chicago and 171,000 Chicagoans used Airbnb when they traveled out of town.

Here are some highlights from the report:

Supporting the Economy and Middle Class Families

More tax revenue for Chicago. In February 2015, we announced that we would collect and remit taxes on behalf of our hosts in Chicago. We contribute approximately $2.5 million in tax revenue to the City of Chicago each year.

Making Ends Meet. Many hosts list their home on Airbnb to help pay the bills. An average Chicago host makes $8,300 per year listing their space on Airbnb. 56% of hosts in Chicago use the income they make from Airbnb to pay their rent or mortgage and stay in their home..

Guests spend money in the neighborhood in which they stay. With Airbnb properties across more than 70 Chicago neighborhoods, Airbnb visitors are staying in and exploring places they might never have otherwise visited. On average $256 are spent per guest in the neighborhood in which he stays. Airbnb has created $152 million in direct spending at Chicago businesses in the past year.

Greener Travel

Environmental Hospitality: 63% Percent of Chicago hosts incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their household or hosting practices such as having energy efficient appliances and providing recycling for guests.

Staying Green. By staying in Airbnb properties instead of traditional accommodation options, Airbnb guests to Chicago have a smaller environmental impact. By staying in Airbnb listings, our guests saved enough water to fill 38 Olympic-sized pools, produced 318 metric tons less waste and greenhouse gas emissions reduction equivalent of 6800 cars.

Cultural Exchange

Language Exchange. ¼ of the Airbnb guests visiting Chicago come from outside the United States. In addition, 14% of guests do not speak English as their primary language. This resulted in Airbnb hosts in Chicago engaging with guests who spoke more than 25 languages.

Airbnb enables Chicago hosts to share their homes and show visitors the city they love on the shores of Lake Michigan. We look forward to continuing to work with leaders on innovative steps to make the city a better place to live and visit.

Airbnb Partners with Tel Aviv Global on Innovative City Guide

Today, we are delighted to announce a new partnership with Tel Aviv Global to co-create a rich and immersive guide to Tel Aviv and its diverse neighborhoods. This is our first partnership with a municipality on a city guide and we are delighted to launch the initiative in Tel Aviv.

The Tel Aviv Guide will feature layers of interactive content, including maps, custom photography and localized editorial about things to see and do, as well as tips from Airbnb hosts about the great local businesses to try out. It will help diversify tourism in Tel Aviv, highlight communities beyond the regular tourist hotspots and help spread visitors and economic benefits across the city.

This partnership was announced today at DLD Tel Aviv. Hila Oren, CEO & Founder of Tel Aviv Global, said:

“Tel Aviv is comprised of little, fascinating neighborhoods that will be showcased through this initiative.”

Airbnb has a long history of working with our community to produce localized travel guides for cities. Earlier this year, we teamed up with hosts in Barcelona to produce a guide to experiencing Barcelona like a local. Airbnb also offers a further 22 city guides worldwide.

We look forward to working with more cities to diversify tourism and to highlight more unique opportunities for guests.

Supporting Local, Neighborhood Spending in San Francisco

Earlier today, Airbnb sent the following letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee. You can view the entire Neighborhood Spending study from the Land Econ Group here.

To the San Francisco Board of Supervisors:

We recently asked the economists at Land Econ Group to study Airbnb’s impact in neighborhoods ranging everywhere from the Castro to the Richmond, and the Sunset to the Bayview. We wanted you to be the first to know about the quantitative results.

As you know, every year, Airbnb hosts in San Francisco welcome tens of thousands of guests from around the world. Collectively, these visitors generate more than $460 million in economic activity — and with 72 percent of Airbnb listings outside of Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, they’re spending time and money in every neighborhood across San Francisco. Additionally, Airbnb guests pay more than $12 million annually in transient occupancy (hotel) taxes to the city.

Here is just a sample of the positive impact our community is having on neighborhoods and businesses across San Francisco, according to this study:

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Additionally, Land Econ Group’s research also found:

  • Over the last year, Airbnb guests generated $5.5 million in sales tax revenue, in addition to the more than $12 million in hotel taxes remitted on an annual basis [predicted]
  • More than 300,000 guests came to visit San Francisco and stayed in Airbnbs over the last year, spending $338 million of which $105 million went directly to local hosts, the vast majority of whom are middle class families
  • 37 percent of guests’ non-accommodation spending was within the neighborhood of their lodging, indicating that spending by Airbnb guests is distributed much more broadly in San Francisco than spending by hotel guests

We are proud of our community’s impact in our hometown, San Francisco, and proud to support thousands of small businesses and middle class families in every corner of this city. Enclosed is the entire memo from Land Econ Group outlining the results of their study, but if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Welcome, Chris Lehane

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Chris Lehane has joined Airbnb as our Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs.  In this role, Chris will be directing our work with policymakers and our efforts to educate more people, organizations and stakeholders about Airbnb and the right to share your home. Chris and his team will also help organize our hosts and ensure their voices are heard loud and clear by policymakers who are learning more about Airbnb.

We’ve already seen that our community can have a real impact when they come together to advocate for fair rules and tell their story. Airbnb is empowering everyday people to take what is typically their greatest expense – housing – and use it to supplement their income and pay for things like their kids’ college tuition or provide the seed money to start a small business.

When our community tells their story to policymakers, they respond. The United Kingdom and cities like Amsterdam, Paris, Philadelphia, San Jose, and Nashville have already welcomed Airbnb.

We know there is more work to do. As we go forward, Chris will be working with the Public Policy team that has been assembled under the leadership of David Hantman. When David told us a few months ago that he wanted to shift into a consulting role so he could spend less time on airplanes commuting between San Francisco and his home in New York City, we knew we wanted to find someone who would build on his team’s great track record.

Chris has worked with us as a consultant for quite some time, and there was no question that he was the right person for the job. He’s smart, strategic and tough and our community couldn’t ask for a better or more effective advocate.

If you follow politics in the United States, you are probably familiar with his work. Chris is a lawyer who got his start on President Clinton’s 1992 campaign and worked in a series of high-profile roles in the Clinton Administration. From 1998 to the end of the historic 2000 presidential campaign, he served as Vice President Al Gore’s Press Secretary.

In 2001, he co-founded his firm Fabiani & Lehane, where he continued to fight – and deliver – in government advocacy and campaign related work. He recently represented AT&T as it merged with DirecTV, helped keep in place some of the toughest legislation to fight climate change in the country, successfully closed a tax loophole to level the playing field for workers and businesses, represented transit workers striking for fair pay and fought for progressive health care reforms.

He has represented individuals like former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in his successful bid to buy the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Michael Moore on his Oscar winning Fahrenheit 9/11. Chris has also worked with technology companies in Silicon Valley, alternative energy companies, our hometown San Francisco Giants, and advocacy groups such as Labor Unions and NextGen Climate, a leading climate change advocacy organization.

I know Chris is going to be focused on communicating how the Airbnb platform is helping everyday people and he is excited to help organize our millions of hosts and guests into advocates for the right to home share.  And Chris understands that our community is capable of making decisions that are in the best interest of the cities they live in.

Chris lives here in San Francisco with his wife and two boys and you’ll hear more from him on this blog over the next few weeks. In the meantime, please continue to reach out to us if you have any questions or suggestions. We know Airbnb would be nothing without you and we’re excited about the future.