Battleground Strategies’ Communications Effort Helps Secure Landmark Legislation Regulating Airbnb

The American Hotel and Lodging Association retained Battleground Strategies to develop, manage and execute its communications strategy for its successful public affairs campaign to tax and regulate short-term rentals in both Boston and in Massachusetts statewide.

Throughout the multi-year effort, Battleground worked to educate reporters and editors on AHLA’s position, establish AHLA and its in-state affiliate as sources for perspective on the short-term rental issue, ensure the lodging industry’s side of the story was told, and expose Airbnb as a bad actor.

We successfully placed a damaging story about Airbnb’s operations in Boston (“The Airbnb Gold Rush Is On,” Commonwealth Magazine, 1/9/18); pitched a brutal television news investigation on the risks related to short-term rentals (“Hank Investigates: Short Term Rentals,” 7 News Boston, 10/31/17); and developed and achieved publication of an op-ed by the Massachusetts Lodging Association CEO criticizing Airbnb (“Airbnb’s Smoke And Mirrors,” Commonwealth Magazine, 11/10/17).

Battleground was also successful in getting AHLA’s perspective reflected in regular news coverage of short-term rental legislation, and successfully arranged multiple appearances by AHLA and MLA representatives on Boston’s influential NPR station.

We also arranged a coveted Boston Globe editorial board meeting that ultimately led to two editorials supporting taxation and regulation of short-term rentals (“State Should Tax Airbnb, But Let Cities Make Rules,” Editorial, Boston Globe, 6/18/17; (“Pass The Airbnb Tax Already,” Editorial, Boston Globe, 9/17/18).

In the end, Boston and the Commonwealth each enacted the most far-reaching municipal and state legislation in the country taxing and regulating short-term rentals, helping to fuel AHLA’s nationwide efforts.

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