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Emmanuel Marill

When war in Ukraine erupted, Airbnb was quick on its feet to offer support to Ukrainian refugees — and to European governments. Airbnb promised temporary housing for up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. To enable this, it needed to understand the needs on the ground, and of EU member countries that saw an influx of people fleeing the conflict.

Included in the platform’s effort to reach out to governments offering services to displaced Ukrainians was Emmanuel Marill, Airbnb’s regional director for the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region.

Pre-coronavirus, Airbnb’s relationship with European governments was at times tense: The short-term accommodation rental platform was burdening cities, and local councils were asking Airbnb executives tough questions. After the pandemic and in the wake of the Ukrainian war, executives like Marill could change their tune — often mimicking Airbnb’s top executive, CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky, pointing to an uptick in rural bookings to show cities were no longer as crowded with rentals.

The war in Ukraine was another “opportunity” for Airbnb to position itself as a friend of governments and cities, not a foe. The entente between Airbnb and governments, both national and local, was more than welcome for the U.S.-based rental platform. The EU is set to introduce an own-initiative report on short-term rental accommodation services like Airbnb in the second half of this year. The public consultation already showed how contentious services like Airbnb are — it got 5,600 entries, which is an unusually high number. The big question for executives like Marill is: How long will the truce last?

What to watch out for this year: How well the platform ultimately performs in its pledge to house Ukrainian to those in need, and how the EU’s own-initiative report shakes out for short-term rental platforms.

What’s their superpower: Making use of a valuable opportunity to lend a hand for refugees and improve Airbnb’s government relationships at the same time.

Influence score: 17/30

https://ift.tt/lZbTLED May 18, 2022 at 07:30AM
POLITICO

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