top of page

The Rise of the Accidental Lobbyists: How Airbnb Hosts Are Taking On Big Regulation

Across the US, a new political force is emerging: everyday people who rent out their homes on Airbnb. These aren't professional lobbyists or corporate titans, but soccer moms, retirees, and weekend warriors with a shared interest - protecting their ability to share their space and earn extra income.

From Basement Rentals to Political Powerhouses

Take Julie Marks, for example. When Vermont considered restricting short-term rentals, Julie, who rents out part of her home on Airbnb, decided to fight back. With a little help from a national network and some local elbow grease, she rallied hundreds of Vermonters and helped defeat the bill. This story is becoming increasingly common.

Airbnb's Behind-the-Scenes Support

While Airbnb itself avoids the spotlight, it plays a crucial role in empowering these "accidental lobbyists." The company provides resources, training, and connections to lawmakers, all while letting the hosts take center stage. This strategy allows Airbnb to tap into a vast network of passionate advocates without facing the backlash often associated with big corporations.

A David vs. Goliath Battle

The stakes are high. The short-term rental industry faces opposition from hotels, unions, and even some neighborhood groups. But hosts argue that they're not the enemy. They say they boost tourism, create jobs, and revitalize local economies. More importantly, for many, Airbnb income is a financial lifeline.

A Growing Movement with Real Impact

This grassroots movement is having a real impact. In Colorado, a proposed bill that would have quadrupled taxes on short-term rentals died in committee after a well-organized campaign by a local host group. This is just one example of how Airbnb hosts are changing the conversation around rental regulations.

What's Next?

The future remains uncertain. While Airbnb hosts are gaining influence, challenges persist. Places like Hawaii have seen successful measures to restrict rentals, highlighting the complexity of the issue. But one thing is clear: the days of Airbnb hosts being simply passive participants are over. They are a powerful force to be reckoned with in the fight for the future of short-term rentals.


bottom of page