"Dear Public Library System, Please use the $12 million n hotel taxes to keep the library open later." - so reads one of the headlines in Airbnb's new poster campaign. Other headlines ask public works for "more bike lanes, like this one" or nudge the board of education to keep art in schools. Some readers will think they have a point, others have recoiled at the tone. Martha Kenney posted a rebuttal on Facebook "Out of your $12 mil of hotel tax, only 1.4% percent goes to the SF Public Libraries. So that's $168,000. Divided by the 868 library staff, we have $193 per person. Assuming each employee works 5 days per week minus holidays, this is $0.78 per employee per day. Since that's significantly under San Francisco minimum wage ($12.25/hr), I doubt that your hotel tax can keep the libraries open more than a minute or two later."
Jessamyn West, a librarian, tweeted the facebook link to draw more attention to it.
— jessamyn west (@jessamyn) October 21, 2015
Airbnb has said that they will be removing the campaign as "the tone" wasn't quite right. Airbnb comes off as a brat, having finally paid $12 million in taxes, and now demanding that it go to the things they like. Many west coast city residents have discovered rents and housing prices spiralling out of control and many blame Airbnb for this development. Airbnb are getting more proactive with local San Francisco billboard campaigns, as a proposition on the ballot to restrict short-term rentals could end up "disrupting" their disruptive business.
"The intent was to show the hotel tax contribution from our hosts and guests, which is roughly $1 million per month. It was the wrong tone and we apologize to anyone who was offended. These ads are being taken down immediately,” said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty.
While Airbnb spent $12 million in taxes, they also spent $8 million on a campaign opposing Proposition F, which will restrict short-term rentals. Had Airbnb donated $8 million dollars directly to the libraries it loves so much, they could have stayed open a little longer.