Airbnb event to feature Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher and "Eat Pray Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert are scheduled to speak in November at a three-day event sponsored by Airbnb in Los Angeles.

Last year, the Airbnb Open drew 5,000 Airbnb hosts from 110 countries.

The event, scheduled Nov. 17-19, will be the company's third annual gathering. The company says it's expanding the scope of the Open to welcome hosts and guests who use Airbnb as well as locals from Los Angeles. The forum is designed to explore the future of travel and hospitality, including topics like making connections and tips for successful hosting.

Other speakers include film producer Brian Grazer, who won an Oscar for "A Beautiful Mind"; Toms shoes founder Blake Mycoskie; and restaurateur Danny Meyer, along with Airbnb's founders.

Kutcher is an investor in Airbnb and a number of other tech startups. Paltrow has stayed in glamorous high-end Airbnbs while traveling.

The Open will also include a closing event with live music and a market, with limited tickets for the public to attend.

Details of the event were announced as Airbnb has come under fire in cities ranging from New Orleans to Chicago to New York. Critics say short-term vacation rental sites like Airbnb are helping to drive up housing costs because landlords can make more money renting by the night than renting long-term residential housing.

Airbnb insists that most of its hosts are individuals making ends meet by occasionally renting out a room or their homes.

Some critics also complain that tourists hurt the quality of life in residential neighborhoods by throwing rowdy parties and taking up parking spots. Anaheim, California, home to Disneyland, recently decided to ban short-term rentals like those on Airbnb.