Airbnb Ads Broadcast Ahead Of Contentious New Orleans Vote

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Airbnb is launching a $1 million ad campaign featuring New Orleans-area homeowners who rent out their residences through the site.

         The ad campaign comes ahead of a contentious City Council vote in October that could potentially restrict where the home-sharing service operates, The Advocate’s Jeff Adelson reported.

         The ads, which include four videos and a radio spot, feature residents explaining how using the service to rent out rooms in their homes helps them make ends meet.

         "Airbnb has meant security in a time when I really needed it," says a Carrollton resident identified only as Dreama, who said she rented out her home for six months when she was unemployed. She added that allowed her and her two children to keep their home.

         The spots do not address a more controversial Airbnb practice in which homeowners rent out entire homes in residential neighborhoods throughout most or all of the year. Local affordable housing advocates have argued such practices remove badly needed units from the long-term rental market and push up the cost of living in the city.

         Hotels and traditional bed-and-breakfasts also have opposed the service, which they see as unfair competition.

         The City Council is set to take a preliminary vote on rules governing short-term rentals at its Oct. 6 meeting.

         The City Planning Commission has recommended banning rentals of entire properties in residential neighborhoods, which is the most common type of short-term rentals in the city. The recommendations would still allow whole homes to be rented in mixed-use and commercial areas.

         "We have been working with New Orleans (officials) to find sensible rules and regulations that allow middle-class people to share their homes and make ends meet," said Alison Schumer, a Airbnb spokeswoman, in a news release.

         Schumer did not respond to questions about whether Airbnb is pushing for changes to the city's proposed regulations.

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