SAN FRANCISCO—Airbnb has waged over $8 million in the “No on Proposition F” campaign in an effort to defeat the proposed San Francisco measure that will be on the ballot for November 3. If passed, Proposition F would create severe challenges for Airbnb by regulating and limiting short-term housing rentals to only 75 nights per year, per listing.
Despite Airbnb headquarters being founded in San Francisco, it is currently one of the smaller metropolitan areas with approximately 5,000 rental spaces listed. According to Airbnb campaign representatives, they are less concerned about potential loss of revenue, but the decline of their company as a whole.
If the company faces the passing of the proposition, there are concerns that other larger metropolitan areas like New York, with rentals in over 20,000, or Paris, with over 60,000 listings, will begin following San Francisco’s battle. Airbnb’s campaign efforts are implementing similar restrictions on short-term rentals, and ultimately threaten the company’s growth potential.
Airbnb has made significant budgeting decisions to conduct research to delay the measure. One of the most significant allocations has been spent on the company’s initiative to partner with David Binder Research to conduct a poll study, sending 400 volunteers from house-to-house to ask whether they plan to vote against the measure. According to Airbnb’s research, as of October 25, approximately 55 percent of surveyed residents plan to vote against the measure.
Two of the main demographics opposing Airbnb are hotels and local city activists who believe Airbnb is to blame for the increase in housing prices. As travel industry analyst Henry Hareveldt stated, “Airbnb may double bookings, to 80 million room nights in 2015. That’s 80 million room nights not going to hotels.”
According to Proposition F campaign studies, with Airbnb’s monetary support, the “No on Prop F” campaign has received nearly 30-times the amount of monetary support than the opposing side. The Proposition F campaign has currently raised about $300,000 from hotel unions and advocates of affordable housing.
Dozens of activist groups gathered in the Airbnb headquarters lobby to protest against the company before tomorrow’s election. Protestors arrived accompanied by musicians — Brass Liberation Orchestra for a demonstration using Airbnb’s controversial “tone-deaf” campaign concept, featuring signs such as “HOMELESSNESS. Love, Airbnb.” As of November 2, Airbnb has reportedly spent $8.3 to support the “No on Prop F” campaign.