Government-Paid Lobbyists for Incumbent Hotel Interests in New York

In New York, the local hotel industry is freaking out.  Hotels, in a wearyingly familiar pattern, want the city to ban competitors using new business models (in this case companies like Airbnb).  Of course, they can't say that they are demanding government action to block competition.  So they come up with other BS.   This statement is right out of the corporate state paybook

NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism agency, issued a statement saying, “This illegal practice takes away much needed hotel tax revenue from city coffers with no consumer protections against fire- and health-code violations.” Neither city officials nor hotel organizations would estimate how much revenue hotels and the city might be losing.

The tax argument is absurd.  There is no reason that the city could not apply lodging or some sort of new tax to the rentals if that were their real concern.  The part about fire and health regulations is equally absurd.  New York apartment and building owners would be very surprised to learn that they are suddenly somehow unregulated.  Is the implication really that New York hotels are safe but New York apartments are Triangle Shirtwaist fires waiting to happen?

This is a great example of industry capture.  A true city tourism agency should be saying "It is great that this city is developing even more options for visitors.  A diversity of lodging experiences and price levels can only help spur tourism in New York.  There may be a few regulatory tweaks that are needed to accommodate this model, but we welcome this new lodging model with open arms."  Instead, though, they are acting as government paid lobbyists for existing hotel interests.


  1. Trapper_John:

    That which is seen vs that which is unseen: cheaper prices for lodging increase the number of people who can afford to come to NYC for a visit. It also increases the portion of a budget that can be spent on non-lodging amenities during said visit (for those who were coming anyway). Both of these things increase tax and business revenues for shops and restaurants. My guess is that it's a wash on the tax argument.

  2. Kenneth:

    "This statement is right out of the corporate state PAYBOOK." At first I though this was a typo. But is the correct word PLAYBOOK or PAYBACK?

  3. MingoV:

    The irony is that some tenants can make big profits from lodging tourists because the tenants live in rent-controlled apartments.

  4. marque2:

    And they always lobby for regulation to save us from harm. That is probably why states license barbers - so we don't get killed in a barber shop fire. Of course in CA getting your hair cut can be deadly!

  5. Ghost of Bloomberg:

    Living in NYC myself, I don't see how they could collect hotel tax from thousands of anonymous tenants advertising their apartments on Craigslist so I think the interests of the hotel lobby and politicians are the same on this issue. The hotels want more customers and DeBlasio wants more taxes so they have to close down short-term rentals where these criminals are probably also drinking large sugary sodas too.

  6. MNHawk:

    Solution. Visit somewhere else, where you do have the freedom to choose between a 5 star hotel, and literally a bedroom/community bath situation, like...


  7. Dale Ogden:

    New York Hotels are ridiculous mostly tax collection agencies. New York is a dirty, smelly, environment which, no doubt, will revert to its pre-Giuliani level of safety under its new leftist regime. I was forced to stay in NYC for business; a small room with twin beds was $649 per night plus about $125 in various taxes, more than $2300 for three nights. And I suspect a major part of the $649 was for taxes, too. That's more than my mortgage on a 4400 square foot house a block and a half from the Pacific Ocean with a view of Catalina. What a deal! And because of the artificial government-imposed limit on the number of taxis, I had to walk about two miles in cold damp weather since I couldn't get a taxi. New York remains unfit for human habitation. I always argue for any other venue than New York when I am arranging a business meeting.

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