Industry News

An Open Letter to the Tales of the Cocktail® Community

The effects of Short Term Rentals in New Orleans.
The effects of Short Term Rentals in New Orleans.

This open letter is not about AirBnB as such, but about the challenge of supporting your industry and community amidst new paradigms of travel and tourism. When Tales of the Cocktail was founded, we deliberately placed the event in July, one of the most difficult months for our local economy, in an effort to help increase revenue for New Orleans’ many hospitality businesses and employees. The hotels, bars, restaurants and thousands of hospitality workers they employ have been grateful for Tales of the Cocktail, and we want to continue to do right by them. In this spirit, we write to you today to help raise awareness about the effect short term rentals, such as AirBnB, are having on residents, business owners, and event producers, like ourselves.

Bar manager at Erin Rose, and former CAP, Rhiannon Enlil was given a notice of eviction last week, after four years in her apartment because her landlord wants to list the property on AirBnB. This is by no means an isolated incident. There are now over 4,316 AirBnBs operating in New Orleans.

"There are a finite number of homes in this city, and the demand is high for workers and residents who keep the economic engine running. If you allow short-term rentals to eat away at that supply, the appeal to live and work in this city diminishes. All of the visitors who use short-term rentals, who want to eat in our restaurants, listen to our live music, drink in our bars... who will serve them if we in the service and entertainment industry cannot afford to live here?" - Rhiannon Enlil, Erin Rose, Newly evicted tenant

This issue is also having a significant impact on the hotels and licenses B&B’s in New Orleans. Hotels are one of the longest standing harbingers of hospitality. They employ hundreds to thousands of people, provide insight and infrastructure to guests, and work with event organizers to facilitate events that would otherwise not be possible, such as Tales of the Cocktail. Every tasting room and seminar we facilitate is done so in a hotel, and it’s hard to imagine where else we could possibly produce so many events within one week. Because of our longstanding relationships with these hotels, we’re able to negotiate special rates for Tales attendees year after year. Hotels are experienced in the practice of hospitality, and legally qualified to accommodate our guests, whereas short term rentals, which are illegal in New Orleans, fundamentally upset residential valuations by introducing unsustainable commercial valuations into residential neighborhoods.

In this spirit, we encourage you to stay with one of our partnering hotels (or even another local hotel if you prefer), but please avoid staying at an AirBnB or other short term rental property that is not legally sanctioned to operate in New Orleans. Each short term rental takes revenue away from our own hospitality industry; if the hotels are operating below projected capacity, staff hours get cut, and employees get laid off. Tales of the Cocktail is one of many organizations in New Orleans working to have these illegal rentals addressed by our city government, but in the meantime, we encourage you to consider the matter for yourself. Everyone wants the best deal they can find, but sometimes the best deal results in an exceptionally rotten deal for everyone else. We employ you: help us keep locals in their homes and guests visiting our city in the many beautiful and hospitable hotels and B&Bs New Orleans has to offer.

Thank you for your time and consideration. If you support this effort, please share this post.

Respectfully,

Tales of the Cocktail

For a list of our partner hotels, please click here.

Jeremy JF Thompson lives in New Orleans, Louisiana and is Marketing Manager for Tales of the Cocktail.

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