Airbnb’s regional boss Sam McDonagh read a well-written speech, packed with broad concepts and catchy phrases but short on detail, to a gathering of industry leaders at the TTF Outlook conference in Sydney yesterday.
In his address, McDonagh propagated the argument that industry commentators are promoting a “false choice between the sharing economy and traditional operators, between disruptors and the disrupted, and yes – between Airbnb and hotels.”
He said it was flawed to think that “for Airbnb to grow, hotels have to shrink.
“This false choice hasn’t served anyone in the tourism industry or community particularly well, and has certainly distracted us from focusing on areas of mutual interest.
“A key challenge for the tourism industry is to consign this false choice to the history books.”
McDonagh did not provide any data to support his argument, instead citing the cliche “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
He also claimed that Airbnb is “an advocate for fair and progressive regulations”.
However, once again McDonagh did not elaborate with examples on what these “fair and progressive regulations” would look like.
In conclusion he said Airbnb has opened its distribution platform to more than 300,000 hotels and bed and breakfasts with more to come.