City Life

Q&A with Ben Breit, Airbnb's Midwest representative

Learn more about the Airbnb industry

What trends are you noticing? 
 
The stretch in 2016 where we saw the highest surge of travelers to Madison Airbnb properties was during the University of Wisconsin–Madison graduation weekend. During times when hotels sell out, cities are able to expand lodging. That means guests also spend their money in nearby restaurants and bars and shops.  
 
What can you tell me about the regulations on Airbnb in Madison?
 
We’re still in the discussion phases both at the state level and in Madison. [As for general practices,] we go to governments and say we want to be regulated and we want to help you collect all the taxes that you’re due. We want to partner with communities to help come up with rules that make sense. From a general tax standpoint, we try to work with governments to come to tax agreements that allow us at the platform to collect the taxes on behalf of our hosts and remit them directly to the governments. 
 
Do you have a sense of how Airbnb has changed since it started?
 
It has certainly grown. Our three co-founders will be the first to admit that this has exceeded all of their wildest expectations. When it first started, it was basically confined to major cities, but it’s expanding to quite a few rural areas as well. I think that’s an interesting trend that maybe our founders weren’t thinking of in 2008.

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