Airbnb lures hosts elsewhere with costly pandemic policies

Another host, Anthony Farmer, filed a class action proposal against Airbnb in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in November. The lawsuit, which tries to bypass Airbnb’s arbitration terms, accuses the company of violating its contract and fiduciary duty and violating consumer protection laws.

Christopher Nulty, a spokesperson for Airbnb, said company policy prioritizes public health and safety, which will ultimately help hosts “by maintaining high customer loyalty and demand for service. ‘Airbnb ads’. He said that Mr. Farmer’s lawsuit was without merit.

In May, Airbnb announced it would be returning “to our roots” by focusing on “the everyday people who host their homes.”

This position has commercial advantages. Professional rental operators with lots of listings can appear to be taking homes and turning neighborhoods into tourist areas, leading politicians and neighborhood associations to impose regulations. A family that rents a spare room often appears less threatening.

In a financial prospectus released in November, Airbnb said 90% of its hosts were “individual hosts,” defined as those who created their listings directly on the site instead of using specialized software to sign up. But according to Transparent, a software provider for short-term rental operators, only 37% of Airbnb listings were managed by people who own property in September. About half of the listings were managed by hosts with two to 20 properties, and 14% by hosts with 21 or more.

So when Airbnb focused on individual hosts, it annoyed its business hosts even more.

“Their business is sort of based on professional hosts, but they don’t often say that,” said Mr. Vail, the Columbus operator. “They don’t want this message to make the headlines.”

Mr. Nulty said Airbnb’s focus on “primary hosts” did not come at the expense of business hosts. He said business hosts were represented on its Hosts Advisory Committee, a group the company formed in October so hosts could meet with Airbnb executives.

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