How Local Governments can use Web Scraping

The internet is a wonderful thing and so is globalization. But when a new upstart wins big on the global scene it can cause problems in some unexpected places – small towns and cities.

Companies such as Airbnb and Uber have revolutionized some industries making vast profits for themselves and even the consumer. Airbnb allows a house or apartment owner to rent out a room to a guest, and receive income much like the bed and breakfast industry. This is causing concern for the hotel industry whose profits are under attack, while local government are trying to work out how to ensure the owner’s pay their fair share in hotel, occupancy and tourist taxes.

It’s not all about taxes

Airbnb has a massive impact on local businesses and the community – both good and bad. One problem is tracking down ‘super-hosts’ or those who use Airbnb to rent multiple units thereby eating into the Hotel industry but without adequate regulation and revenues needed by local governments. This is one of the main oppositions to legalizing all aspects of Airbnb’s business.

Local government are generally guaranteed that a Hotel will pay their taxes because they are registered and regulated, but a private party or individual renting their rooms is hard to track, control or regulate.

Owing to the complexity of Airbnb’s operation, tracking down the hosts or owners of these properties is a difficult task. The other big problem is the sheer size and scale of the business and trying to understand the data. Airbnb’s Conley has been quoted as saying that he wants to ‘make his data available but the problem is that, the data has not always been reliable.’

If Airbnb thinks they have a data problem, the complete lack of any data for the small towns and cities on Airbnb usage creates a massively unequal situation between these large unicorns and the small towns and cities.

To understand the scale of this data, Airbnb was operating in 154 countries and thousands of states, cities and towns in those countries at the time of writing this article.

Even if the data is provided by Airbnb, it will surely be provided in a manner that is better suited to their own narrative.

How to start solving these problems

At some point you may ask why and where does a data scraping service come in?

A data scraping company such as ours can provide access to this data to all parties so that they can identify any issues, learn from the patterns the identify in the data, understand the scope of the problem and work on creating solutions that address their actual problem and not a perceived problem from some other location.

We just help level the playing field to make this data accessible to the parties that don’t have access to the data. Data holds tremendous power in the digital economy and the service

The data that we can scrape is customized for our customers. It is not based on a study conducted by an organization or a sample set of data that is based on some other location which has no bearing on our customer’s situation, rather it is real and precise data based on the criteria set by our customers. e.g. Our customer may only be interested in rentals for 3 days or less, or properties with certain number of bedrooms or hosts with multiple properties to list or any other combination.

Such data is hard to come by unless you use a service like ScrapeHero.

When hiring a data scraping service such as ours we create customized solutions to solve our customers specific problems. We iterate over the scraped data, perform basic or advanced analysis (as required by our customers), provide insights and suggestions and enhance the program over time.


ScrapeHero October 13, 2016

Here is a timely article today on this topic of lack of data:

Lawmakers join Elizabeth Warren’s call for US to ‘step in’ on illegal Airbnb hotels – the guardian

“We won’t be able to monitor or enforce … policies until the platforms share data.”

Comments are closed.

Turn the Internet into meaningful, structured and usable data   

ScrapeHero Logo

Can we help you get some data?