Airbnb wants more owners to rent out their homes

Convinced that the leisure travel boom is permanent, Airbnb aims to expand its offer by convincing more people to transform their accommodation into short-term rentals.

The company said it would increase the amount of liability coverage for hosts, up to $3 million, in a play for owners of nicer homes in expensive places like California. It will also pair newbies with a “superhost” to guide them through the process of becoming a short-term owner, from signing up to welcoming their first guest.

More listings don’t seem to be Airbnb’s biggest challenge.

CEO Brian Chesky said the San Francisco company is taking steps to make pricing more transparent when consumers browse Airbnb listings, and he predicts it will reduce the exorbitant cleaning fees many hosts charge well into the process. booking – a major consumer complaint.

The company also continues to try to crack down on big parties in rentals, some of whom became violent. And it faces efforts to tighten regulations on short-term rentals.

Through it all, Airbnb has fared better than most travel companies during the pandemic. This month, he reported a record profit of $1.21 billion for the third trimester. Its stock fell, however, as earnings and bookings were below Wall Street expectations and the company gave a cautious outlook for the fourth quarter.

Investors fear that consumers who pay more for food, gas and shelter — and face recession forecasts — will cut discretionary spending such as travel, which will hurt Airbnb.

Some current hosts fear this is already happening. Last month, a post on a Facebook page for Airbnb “superhosts” asked, “Has anyone seen a huge drop in bookings in the last 3-4 months? We’ve gone from at least minus 50% occupancy to literally 0% in the past two months.”

Other hosts on social media have suggested theories ranging from a fragile economy to pent-up travel demand that eventually dries up, and some think the problem could be that Airbnb already has too many listings.

AirDNA, which tracks the number of short-term rentals, said Airbnb listed nearly 1.4 million rentals in the United States in September, a jump of 23% from a year earlier and 9 % compared to 2019. Nearly two-thirds have been added since 2020. The trends are similar for global lists.

Chesky said in an interview that Airbnb has enough hosts now — he didn’t say he has too many — but he needs more because leisure travel will continue to grow.

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