Airbnb registers new lobbyist amid escalating fight with hotels

Airbnb registers new lobbyist amid escalating fight with hotels
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Airbnb is ramping up its lobbying efforts as its battle with the hotel lobby intensifies on Capitol Hill.

Meagan McCanna, who has been at the company as their head of federal affairs since December, has registered as a lobbyist for Airbnb.

She will advocate for the company on issues like labor, online marketplaces, access to Cuba, government operations and the hospitality, travel and tourism industry, according to disclosure forms.

Before joining Airbnb, McCanna worked for former Republican Reps. Thomas Petri (Wis.) and John Kline (Minn.).

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In addition to bringing McCanna onboard, earlier in the year the company also hired Mercury and the Podesta Group to lobby on its behalf in D.C.

The homesharing platform’s decision to register McCanna as an official lobbyist comes amid rising tensions between the hotel industry and Airbnb.

Documents obtained by The Hill earlier in the year showed that the American Hotel and Lodging Association had made “strategic” donations to congressional candidates who are “pro-lodging and pro-employer.”

Details regarding AHLA’s plan came in larger set of documents outlining the hotel’s industry’s plan to fight back against Airbnb, whose service has been encroaching on its market share.

The hotel industry wants increased scrutiny of Airbnb. The company has in the past faced criticism over its effect on housing costs and faced questions about whether it adequately protects customers from racial discrimination.

The AHLA said that in 2017, they planned to "advance federal legislative efforts to level the playing field in specific areas and push back on Airbnb's offensive within the Beltway."