Airbnb plans public affairs push from UK

Written by Rod Muir on 23 March 2017 in News

New campaigns chief will work alongsaide UK lobbying firm Pagefield.

Airbnb is ramping up its public affairs firepower in Europe as it faces a regulatory backlash in some cities.

The well-known accommodation website has decided to create a new post of head of campaign operations for the EMEA region, likely to be based in London.

The new post will oversee the work of campaign managers across the EMEA region and will report into Airbnb EMEA public policy director Patrick Robinson. He joined the firm in late 2013 having previously been European public policy director at Yahoo.

Airbnb will also continue to use Pagefield for lobbying help in the UK. Pagefield has been retained as the firm’s UK public affairs agency since January 2015.

Airbnb has been valued at $25bn (£20bn) and helps let out three million properties around the world. But it has faced a regulatory backlash in some cities where leaders have grown concerned about its impact on housing supply.

Berlin levies a €100,000 (£85,000) fine for anyone renting out more than half of their home for less than two months without a permit, while New York and San Francisco also have strict laws.

Starting this Spring, Airbnb has said will ban hosts in London from renting out entire homes for more than 90 days a year without official consent.

"They are absolutely focused day-in, day-out on this sort of leadership and in being good partners to cities and policymakers," said one source with knowledge of the firm. "Increasingly they need more people on the ground to manage that important work."

The new post of head of campaign operations for the EMEA region will be responsible for ensuring that Airbnb’s campaign managers have "established strategies and plans for each geography, based on insight and analysis". The job description also states that they will be responsible for "using their vantage point to identify emerging pan-EMEA policy issues that might need to be discussed at global level".

Airbnb said in a statement: "Airbnb’s public policy team aims to work closely with politicians, regulators, and legislators to educate them about Airbnb and the 'sharing' or 'collaborative' economy, highlight the significant social and economic impact our business has on local areas, and showcase best practices from around the world.

"We want policy makers to understand the regulatory challenges that affect our host community and find solutions that are good for cities and our thriving local communities."

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