The war between Airbnb and the hotel industry rages on, and it's reaching new lows here in New York.
A campaign, backed by the Hotel Association of New York City Inc. and the union that represents hotel workers, launched a 10-day, 30-second ad that links Airbnb's short-term rentals to public security threats.
The ad sets the stage for fear-mongering, stating that NYC remains the number one target of terror in the world, citing the NYPD police commissioner, and reminding viewers that there are 40,000 Airbnb listings in NYC.
The ad even goes so far as to say that Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was staying in a short-term rental apartment when he staged and executed the attack, being sent massive packages.
Airbnb has said that Abedi's unit was not an Airbnb listing, and has rightly called the ad "an outrageous scare tactic."
"The fact is Airbnb had nothing to do with the tragic events in Manchester and we are one of the only hospitality companies that runs background checks on all U.S. residents, both hosts and guests," Airbnb Press Secretary Peter Schottenfels told the NY Daily News. "Hotel CEOs have a responsibility to tell us why they don't do the same and why they continue to fund this sort of despicable, cynical advertising."
But the company is now running its own ad, called "Scare Tactics" to counter the "Who's in Your Building?" ad.
Schottenfels told the NY Daily News that the company will spend $500K running the ad on cable and online, adding the following:
While hotels launch desperate, xenophobic smear attacks in an attempt to protect their ability to price gouge, Airbnb hosts represent what's best about New York — hardworking families who open their homes to travelers and are able to make a bit of extra money to stay in the neighborhoods they love.
You can check it out below:
These ads are just one small battle in a much larger war. In 2016, Airbnb was the target of a federal investigation by the FTC, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill enforcing steep fines on New York's Airbnb hosts that break housing rules.
The conflict continues to escalate, so expect to see more ads like these from both sides.