Airbnb is launching a new strategy to bring more properties onto
the platform. “Airbnb Setup” matches property owners with experienced,
highly rated hosts - what it calls “Superhosts” - that provide live, personalized
assistance throughout the listing process via text, voice or video chat.
The system matches new and existing hosts based on location and
type of property. Once a stay is completed at the new host’s property, the Superhost receives a cash reward – Airbnb says the amount can vary but did not
provide a range.
Airbnb Setup launches today with 1,500 Superhosts in more than 80
countries and more will be added in the future.
In an announcement regarding the new service, co-founder and CEO
Brian Chesky says, “Today, just like during the Great Recession in 2008, people
are especially interested in earning extra income through hosting. That’s why we’re
introducing an easy way for millions of people to Airbnb their homes.”
Airbnb global head of operations Tara Bunch says the idea also
developed out of the realization that people considering listing for the first
time may assume the process is more difficult than it is.
“Their anticipation about how hard this is versus reality is very
different. They believe it can be hard to do this, and this new process of
pairing them with an experienced Superhost is really about demystifying it,”
Host protection and reassurance
Also today Airbnb is updating protections it provides for hosts.
Identity verification will now be provided for all guests booking
stays in the top 35 countries and regions on Airbnb, which the company says comprises
90% of all reservations. By the spring guest identity verification will be
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The verification system compares proofs of identity such as a
guest’s driver’s license, passport or national identity card with information
provided by the guest and with a selfie for photo matching. The system may also
use information such as address, date of birth, phone number and, in the U.S.,
social security number, to match against third-party databases.
Bunch says the company takes multiple steps to ensure disclosures
and privacy are handled appropriately.
“We store this information in a way
that no one else can get access to it. And then we destroy data we no longer
need,” she says.
“We have a very disciplined data management
approach to this.”
Airbnb is also launching new reservation screening technology in
the U.S., Canada and Australia, where it has been testing it since last year. The
company says the system “evaluates hundreds of factors” about each reservation
to identity those guests that show a potential to host unauthorized parties –
with the goal of blocking those reservations from being made. The screening technology
will rollout worldwide in the spring.
AirCover insurance coverage is expanding to include a host’s cars
and boats stored on property as well as art, jewelry and valuables inside the
home at their fully appraised value. Damage protection is increasing from $1
million to $3 million for the home and its contents, and Airbnb says it is
simplifying the claims process.
launched a year ago, the company says only about .02% of trips have
resulted in damage reimbursement of more than $1,000.
“Most claims are not intentional.
That’s what that number tells you. This is someone accidentally knocking over a
lamp or their kid knocks over a lamp. They are relatively minor in nature and
actually most are worked out between the guest and the host,” Bunch says.
“Again, this is another one of those
things where I think the concern that hosts have, particularly new hosts, is
largely outsized relative to the reality of the situation. That’s why we can
afford to do this, because we’ve gotten so much better at screening guests and
hosts and holding both our guest and host community accountable for their
Airbnb is launching a new marketing campaign to promote the new
Setup and AirCover. The campaign uses short films to “speak
directly to homeowners with messages around the ease and safety of hosting
their primary residence, by highlighting our new product features, Setup and
AirCover, that were created specifically with these considerations in mind.”
Airbnb is also adding six new categories to filter properties and
hotels on its platform. Airbnb
Categories launched in May with 56 types.
New ones being added include “adapted” to highlight properties
that accommodate wheelchairs, with images of the property scanned and verified
by Matterport to show details such as the width of doorways.
Other new categories are “new” – for homes added to the platform
in the past 10 weeks – and “play” for homes with basketball courts, games