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Airbnb, VRBO take differing stances on short-term rentals in D.C.

Ahead of Inauguration week in D.C., Airbnb and VRBO are taking vastly different stances on renting in the D.C. area. Melody Hahm explains.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: Turning our attention to other issues about the inauguration, there have been statements, for instance, from Airbnb, that they will not, they're not going to have the rooms available, they're canceling that. We dealt with that earlier this week. But then there's other companies. And Melody Hahm is joining us now with the latest on one of them. Melody?

MELODY HAHM: Yes, and Adam, sort of breaking just a few minutes ago, VRBO, which is owned by Expedia. As we recall, HomeAway was folded into VRBO as well, is the real competitor to Airbnb. They have not actually issued a statement saying that they will restrict bookings, and they did publish a blog post a few moments ago saying that they're doubling down on that stance and that they expect all of their community to be respectful, which we know for a fact, oftentimes is not the case.

And I do want to point out that all the major hotel chains, I've reached out to all of them, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, they all have decided to keep up their stance. I've checked out some of the room rates right now. They're about double or triple their normal listing price still to this day. We do know that 20,000 troops have descended upon DC and they will continue to over the weekend. So they do need housing and lodging. So this is a very contentious situation.

And we do know that Craigslist has actually been seeing a boom over the last 24 hours as Airbnb has made that decision. And 5,000 properties in the metro DC area are no longer available to those who are planning to attend the inauguration.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Mel, do we have any idea who's planning to attend the inauguration other than the people who have to be there? I mean, we're in the middle of a pandemic, plus the chaos of last week.

MELODY HAHM: Exactly, Adam. 1, 2 punch, the bottom line from all elected officials is, please stay home. Even if you live a couple of blocks away, do not come out anywhere near the vicinity of the Mall. So to answer your point, I don't think that that's top of mind for many folks. Therefore, a lot of these hotels feel as though, especially because they've been hit so hard during the pandemic, that they need to keep their doors open during this time.