SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Airbnb plans to form 100 home-sharing clubs in cities across the United States during 2016, seeking to get ahead of regulatory crackdowns by organizing hosts and guests who will advocate for home-and room-sharing companies.
Airbnb aims to leverage the political clout it established during the San Francisco election, and the $8.4 million campaign it orchestrated to defeat Proposition F, a measure to restrict short-term rentals.
The company won that battle Tuesday night, when Prop. F was defeated 55 percent to 45 percent.
“We’re going to use the momentum of what took place here to do what we did in San Francisco around the world,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s global policy chief who led the campaign against Prop. F.
The home-sharing clubs will be organized by Airbnb and run by hosts and guests who use the website. The clubs will organize to advocate for home-sharing at their local city councils and around their community.
Airbnb staff will support the clubs, offering advice and resources, Lehane told a news conference on Wednesday.
Lehane declined to say how much the clubs would cost Airbnb, but said, “we’ll spend what it takes to succeed.”
Despite Airbnb’s victory in San Francisco, other cities including New York and Los Angles are weighing tough restrictions on short-term rentals, concerned they are taking too much housing stock off the market in areas where residents are faced with high rents.
Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Frances Kerry