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How Airbnb Turned Its Hosts Into Political Foot Soldiers

With swag and snacks, the company is enlisting hosts in its fierce political fight in New York. A trip to Albany on the Airbnb lobbying bus.

It’s 7:30 a.m., and a couple-dozen groggy Airbnb hosts are boarding a bus parked at the southeast side of New York City’s Union Square. Besides apartment listings on the site, they have little in common. Chris Gatto, a gray-haired freelance business coach with thick glasses, walked to the bus from his East Village apartment. Danielle Herard, an independent insurance broker, woke up at 4:30 a.m. in Crown Heights, where she uses Airbnb to help pay the rent while she starts a design business. An antiques dealer who has been priced out of her Williamsburg storefront wears an army jacket. Another host, who falls asleep under his eye mask before the bus departs, wears a literal white collar.

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