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Hotel Industry Weighs Impact of Airbnb

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Rochester: Hotel Industry Weighs Impact of Airbnb
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The hotel industry is still working out whether it should worry about the growing popularity of Airbnb as the company forges through unique legal and economic challenges.

Despite the legal battles, should traditional New York City hotels be worried about Airbnb?

"I think it poses a significant threat. Obviously, it's a very different experience," said Patrick Bosworth, founder and CEO of Duetto.

"I don’t see them as a big threat, but we welcome more competitors in the marketplace," said Melissa Maher of Expedia.

"They have a very innovative approach to selling and marketing lodging to an ever-larger group of consumers, so that’s going to look pretty—not only important—but a little scary if you are a big hotel brand," said Jeff Katz, a technology and travel investor.

The day New York’s Attorney General issued a report that 72 percent of Airbnb’s listings violated city laws, a group of leaders in the hotel industry were coincidentally gathering for a revenue summit in Manhattan.

Although a pricier option than Airbnb, the venerable hotel industry feels it's holding its ground on the upstart house-sharing platform.

"At the point when you can go online just like you would going to Marriott.com or Booking.com and be able to transact that, I think many more consumers and many more business travelers also are going to be looking at Airbnb as a very, very important alternative to the hotel community," Bosworth said.

"If you look at Airbnb’s supply, their capacity right now, it pales in comparison to what you see from the existing hotel supply. And then on top of that, in New York, you have so much new supply coming to market that it's kind of dwarfing, to an extent, the impact of Airbnb at the moment," said Patrick Mayock, Editor in Chief of Hotel News Now.

Despite the legal hurdles ahead, hotel analysts are not deflating Airbnb’s chances of remaining a keeper—not a sleeper.

"Guests are clearly craving the product, so they are going to figure those issues out. It’s just a matter of when," Mayock said.

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