Airbnb will roll out new services to address host issues

United States: Airbnb is trying to address common issues faced by new hosts in its winter outing this week, although it received a mixed response from the industry.

Among the titles included in the winter release was the introduction of Airbnb Setup, described as “the all-new, super-easy way to Airbnb in your home, with free personalized guidance from a Superhost.”

Designed to make becoming a host easier, the Airbnb setup allows potential hosts to be asked where they’re from and what type of accommodation they’d like to list, before they’re matched with a local Superhost who can then respond to other questions about the onboarding process. , how to boost their listing, secure more bookings and more.

New hosts will now have the option to choose which type of guest they would like to host first i.e. whether it is a new guest or a first time guest or from a more experienced Airbnb guest. Airbnb is introducing options including community support agents to help with any issues early on during their accommodation journey.

In last November’s winter outingAirbnb launched AirCover to provide “unparalleled, top-to-bottom” protection to every host on the platform and this year’s release takes protection a step further, with the introduction of identity verification technology. customer and reservation screening, as well as enhancing its existing protection package with $3 million in damage protection, including coverage for cars, boats, artwork and valuables .

Airbnb’s new Identity Verification has been implemented to verify every guest who makes a booking and will be available in 35 countries at launch, representing approximately 95% of platform bookings, ahead of a planned full rollout at the start from 2023. The reservation filtering technology has been made available initially in the United States and Canada and will block so-called “high risk” reservations that are suspected of leading to unauthorized parties and neighborhood disruption.

However, Humphrey Bowles, co-founder and CEO of digital trust platform SUPERHOG, said in response to the announcement: “Hosts will of course welcome the incremental improvements to AirCover, but this raises more questions than answers.

“Do hosts understand the cost they are paying for the service, gaps and shortcomings? Does it actually give them more control? Does this mean that the previous verification was insufficient, and why should we trust them now?

“Guests don’t stay with Airbnb, they stay with a ‘host’, the risk is taken by the host, and so rather than grand statements and gestures of vanity, we need more detail and transparency. Hosts have a right to know who their guests are, just as guests have a right to know their host,” he added.

The third major service enhancement to be rolled out this week is the introduction of six new home categories, following the redesign from the Airbnb platform in May which improved accommodation search options. Categories include:

  • NOTuh – Homes added to Airbnb in the last ten weeks
  • The roof of the world – Homes about 10,000 feet above sea level
  • Tendency – Highly rated homes that received more ad views compared to the previous week
  • Adapted – Houses adapted for wheelchair access, with verified no-step paths in the house, bedroom and bathroom
  • Player – Houses with basketball courts, game rooms, miniature golf, water slides and more
  • Hanok – Traditional Korean houses built with natural materials

At the same time, existing categories will get better visibility on the Airbnb app and more details will be featured in search results when viewing categories.

Airbnb believes it can entice more hosts to join its platform amid a global cost-of-living crisis, which the company says is leading to a new wave of people considering hosting for the first time . According to Airbnb, more than 60 million unique visitors have visited the company’s Host page since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, including more than 40% in the last 12 months.

As people lead more flexible lives than ever before, Airbnb reported that new private room listings added to the platform increased by 31% between Q3 2021 and Q3 2022.

Swimming pools, wifi, kitchens, hot tubs and free parking were the top five filters for British travelers looking for amenities for their short stays.

In a nod to the start of his venture with Airbnb when the startup was known as AirBed & Breakfast, co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said he would list a private room in his own home based in San Francisco that guests could rent out themselves.

While industry professionals acknowledged Airbnb’s improvements to address common host issues, others, including Robert Mollins of Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, said the winter release could have gone further, for example to provide more comprehensive guidance to hosts on how they can browse locally. and ever-changing regulations.

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