Airbnb looms over the lodging industry

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Good morning,

Airbnb loomed over the proceedings at The Delaware Hotel and Lodging Association annual reception at the Embassy Suites in Newark.

The annual event honors many of the unsung heroes in an increasingly important industry is Delaware.

Airbnb,which was discussed briefly before the awards program, is viewed as a threat to the lodging industry.

The image Airbnb and similar sites likes to project is one of hard-working people renting out a beach house or apartment for a short stay and earning extra money. That view is sometimes accurate, but there is also a dark side

There is increasing evidence that speculators are offering the equivalent of lightly regulated hotels through the purchase of condos and apartments at sky-high prices. Such operations raise questions ranging from health and safety, the doubtful immigration status of workers and the list goes on.

Hoteliers, who pay a lodging tax for tourism and the general fund, claim such operations are already in place in Delaware.

The situation is complicated by a couple of coastal towns sharply increasing rental taxes that are a major source of revenue. Adding a tax to Airbnb would provide a more level playing field, but would be a burden for reputable landlords

So far, Delaware counties, municipalities and the state have not attempted to tax via Airbnb, even though the app makes collections simple and collection patterns could help in detecting illegal operations.

Until the playing field is somehow leveled, the lodging industry has a valid beef.

Enjoy your day. The final newsletter for the week returns tomorrow. – Doug Rainey, Publisher

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