As the recession approaches, Airbnb’s CEO wants your home to make money

NEW YORK — After years of trying to expand into other industries, the CEO of vacation home giant Airbnb wants to get back to basics: helping people make money.

“I had tried to create too many things at once,” Brian Chesky told AFP.

“Then the pandemic happened. We had to go back to our core business,” he said.

The sudden shutdown in global tourism came as a shock to the home rental company and forced the layoff of a quarter of Airbnb’s workforce in 2020.

It also marked the company’s foray into travel “experiences”, Airbnb’s move into tourism activities.

The health of Airbnb, as well as the travel industry as a whole, had started to rebound from the Covid-19 lockdowns, but once again dark clouds are looming.

“The obvious big thing is that (in most countries) we’re probably going to get into a recession, if we’re not there already,” Chesky said.

The company, which has around 6,000 people, has not planned any layoffs, unlike tech giants Meta, Amazon or Twitter.

Instead, it wants to encourage more people to become hosts on its platform, increasing the options as the euphoria of reopened travel has cooled.

“We need to be affordable” in terms of price, Chesky insisted, to allow consumers to travel despite a deteriorating economic climate.

– “Huge deal” –

Meeting the challenge requires more hosts: “We need to help people make money,” Chesky said, especially those who are reluctant to open their properties to strangers.

To encourage the reluctant, Airbnb unveiled a new feature on Wednesday that offers neophytes the advice of the site’s very experienced “superhosts” who, for a fee paid by the company, provide advice and suggestions.

In another move to entice finicky owners, the San Francisco-based group will expand its user identity requirements to even more markets. It will also offer hosts tools to better set their prices and offer discounts.

Airbnb also announced the launch of its anti-party filtering technology in the United States and Canada.

Partying is the pet peeve of the business, with revelers breaking the rules to throw wild parties, scare away hosts or deter potential hosts.

The San Francisco group also increased the damage covered by its in-house insurance plan from $1 million to $3 million.

Chesky has not given up on diversifying for the long term. In five or ten years, “I hope we will be doing much more than just welcoming travellers,” he said.

The entrepreneur intends in particular to revive “experiences”.

“There’s a huge business on the horizon. But it’s going to take longer than I thought… it just turns out that it’s harder to match supply and demand,” he said. -he declares.

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