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Hotel executive says Airbnb and hotels should be on level playing field

A seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom home on Airbnb in April 2015 in Arizona was one of Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpieces. (Airbnb Photo)

PHOENIX — A bill that would clarify how the website Airbnb and similar online lodging websites do business in Arizona is currently in the State House.

The proposed law would create a system for the state and cities to collect taxes from those websites. It would also prevent municipalities from restricting usage of those sites.

“I always welcome competition as long as it’s on a level playing field,” said Bob Rauch, CEO of the Phoenix and San Diego-based hotel management company RAR Hospitality.

Rauch said hotels are accountable through rules and regulations, but so far, Airbnb is not. “I’d like to see either professional management or some type of training, and have some kind of accountability so that guests are safe.”

Rauch said Airbnb serves a purpose by providing additional units when hotels get filled during peak periods. But, he said, these units are unregulated, and, “it’s almost like they are out there in the frontier as cowboys.”

Senate Bill 1350 has passed the Senate. It is currently in the Arizona House.

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