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Hi everyone, 

 

In May, I had the chance to connect with some of you virtually during our Global Host Tour across the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Germany, and Mexico. Thank you to all of our Hosts who attended. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear what’s on your mind, answer some of your top questions, and learn how we can better support you moving forward.

 

There were so many interesting questions that came up during these events, I want to make sure I share the highlights with you! It’s safe to say that what was on their mind is likely on your mind, too. 

 

Before I dive in, I encourage you to continue asking questions and sharing guidance with one another in the Community Center and your local Host Clubs. I love seeing you learn from one another and doing everything you can to make this community even stronger. 

 

Here are some of our Hosts’ top questions from the tour:

 

  • Could Airbnb offer trip insurance for guests? 

 

Yes, this is something we shared during the Global Host Tour. We're working towards providing travel insurance options for guests—first in the U.S., and then in other areas around the world. Guests will be able to purchase trip protection through a partnership with a leading global insurer.

 

In the meantime, we've launched a travel-insurance resource so that guests can compare quotes and purchase a travel-insurance plan that fits their needs in certain countries and regions.

 

  • With the recent product changes to Airbnb, it’s been difficult to navigate some of the new technology. How is Airbnb ensuring their tools help Hosts share their spaces easily? 

 

First of all, by listening closely to you. Thank you to everyone who already shared feedback on our recent updates. We’re actively using your input to improve the Airbnb experience for Hosts and guests, and it’s your insights that will drive the next round of changes. Secondly, we’ll be providing even more education on how you as a Host can make the best use of our new tools. In case you missed it, we launched a series of fun (and short!) tutorial videos to help you navigate the recent changes. These videos will guide you through our new time-saving inbox  and your new Today tab.

 

  • Can Hosts be given more input when it comes to troublesome guests and refunds/reviews? 

 

 

We know that untruthful, misleading, or irrelevant reviews are distressing, and potentially economically damaging for you. Addressing such reviews is complicated, just like the situations from which they arise, so we’ve introduced some changes that recognize that nuance: Using feedback from our Community Center, Host Leaders groups, and the Host Advisory Board, we introduced a new review policy that addresses party-ban violators. Today, Hosts can dispute a review left by a guest found to have committed a significant violation of our Party and Events policy during their stay. A Community Support ambassador may remove the content and star rating of that review from your profile, unless the review contains safety information, like a guest warning about discrimination or an unsafe feature in your listing that could cause an injury. 

 

There’s not one simple fix here, but we hope these initial changes help, and we’re actively working to improve the system even more. Stay tuned for details.

 

  • Why can guests who cancel last minute still leave a review even though they haven't completed their stay? 

 

Moments leading up to the check-in or immediately after check-in are often critical aspects of the guest journey. In rare cases, guests have been unable to check-in to their booked listings due to issues with address accuracy. In some cases, guests have faced last minute cancellations when they arrive at the property. In other cases, guests felt they had to leave upon check-in when aspects of the listing, such as cleanliness or accuracy, didn't match their expectations. We believe these experiences are integral to the overall trip experience and deserve a voice through our review system. 

 

Having said that, we do acknowledge the shortcomings of reviews written without check-in or for cancelled stays. And right now, we’re working on additional ways to improve this experience.

 

  • It’s been difficult to follow and manage reservations with the current tools. Can you ensure the guest's arrival and departure dates are clearly indicated in the reservation? 

 

Over the past year, we've heard lots of great feedback from Hosts about things we can do to make their day-to-day hosting routines easier. Many of you told us that it's hard to find the things you need, such as clear reservation details—and that the separate interfaces for web and mobile can be confusing.

 

As you’ve seen in Brian’s recent message, we introduced the new Today tab with your feedback top of mind. Within your Today Tab, guests’ arrival and departure dates are clearly displayed for your current and upcoming reservations, booking requests, and other day-to-day hosting tasks, all designed to make the hosting experience simpler and to save you time. We hope these changes will make it a more seamless experience for you and your guests. 

 

  • I’ve heard Brian say that Airbnb is returning to its roots. What do you mean by that? 

 

It means we’re reestablishing a closer relationship with you, our Host community.

 

“Airbnb is different; it’s changed since the early days.” That is one message I’ve heard repeatedly from Hosts in my time as Global Head of Hosting, and it was important for me to dig in here to understand the sentiment behind this statement. For our longtime Hosts, you watched us grow and expand our community quickly. We went from two Hosts (Brian and Joe!) in San Francisco to a global community of nearly 4 million Hosts. Some things changed for you along the way. 

 

After listening sessions with many of you—and talks with our founders and more tenured colleagues—I gathered a lot of details. You recall days when Hosts had a more collaborative relationship with our leadership. You would visit our offices in San Francisco and meet the team. You had a direct line to Community Support. And your ideas and feedback were always collected and often quickly incorporated into the product. 

 

You, our Hosts, were growing this company with us, and making us better along the way. 

 

This is what Brian means when he says we’re going back to our roots. 

 

We spent this year simplifying our areas of focus and how we work as an organization. I made a commitment to be more connected to you and more transparent with you. And we made sure that all of your ideas, feedback (and sometimes criticisms) are listened to and shared with the appropriate teams to help us better serve you and make us a stronger community. We also established a Host Advisory Board made up of 18 Hosts from 15 countries and six continents who work closely with us to develop tools and programs with your interests in mind. (Find out more about the Host Advisory Board’s work so far this year.)

 

  • What are the implications of pausing my listing if I need to take a break from hosting? 

 

There are a couple of options to pause or hide your listing from search results. 

  • Snooze: Snoozing your listings hides it from search results for a set period of time. You can snooze your listing for up to 6 months from the current date. When you do, your listing will automatically reactivate when the time frame you set is over. The day before your listing reactivates, you'll get a reminder email. 
  • Temporarily unlist your space: This option removes your space from search results indefinitely. You can reactivate your listing at any time from the Manage Listings page. 
  • Permanently deactivate your listing: You won't be able to permanently deactivate your listing if you have any upcoming reservations or reservation requests. Past reviews of your listing will remain on your public profile—they cannot be removed.

 

For both snooze and temporarily unlisting your space options, once you reactivate your listing, all of your stays and ratings will still count for assessing Superhost status. In other words, you don’t start over again. We continue to look back at a 365-day window to assess status, even if there was a period of snooze or temporary deactivation there. 

 

  • What actions will Airbnb take to improve customer service? 

 

As many of you have already seen in my May Host Update, we’re making substantial new improvements to our Community Support. My colleagues Tara Bunch, and our newly hired VP of Community Support Brent Potts (both former Apple executives), are making significant investments to better serve our Hosts. 

  • Hiring more Support Ambassadors: Since April of last year, we’ve been staffing up to meet the resurgence of demand. We’re now at our pre-pandemic staffing level, and we plan to increase our support team by another 50% to meet the peak travel season ahead. This increase in support will enable us to provide the quick and thorough help you rightly expect. Most importantly, it will be easier to reach a Support Ambassador in real-time for one-on-one support.
  • Greater empathy and a more tailored response: We’re increasing our emphasis on empathy and individual circumstances across our Help Center communications and in our Support Ambassador training. We’ll do more to listen carefully and take into account the relevant nuances and context of your specific situation.
  • Dedicated Superhost Support: We’re launching Dedicated Superhost Support, exclusive access to our most tenured Support Ambassadors who are best suited to handle a situation quickly, expertly, and without handoffs between teams. We’ll launch in North America on September 30, 2021 and will continue to roll out globally throughout the rest of 2021. 
  • Refreshed, simpler policies: We’ve heard your frustrations with some of our policies. We’re conducting a review of our community policies and consolidating them in an easier-to-understand format to help Hosts and guests. You should have a clear grasp of what is and is not allowed on our platform. The review is ongoing, and the full list of simplified, consolidated policies will be available in our Help Center in July. 
  • Personalized Smart Solutions: We’re simplifying the Help Center so it will be much easier to navigate and more contextual to your needs. Starting in July, when you have a question, you’ll find concise and relevant Smart Solutions—easily digestible bits of information that will let you self-resolve your issue in a matter of minutes.

 

I hope this recap answers some of your most pressing questions. Of course I’ll continue to share updates with you in future Host Updates

 

I’ll be in touch again soon, and as always, I look forward to hearing from you in the comments. 

 

All the best,

Catherine

23 Replies

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
Austin, TX
Level 2

@Catherine-Powell Hello, I received a fake review from someone promoting another hotel. I was told by support it would be removed with 24 hours. 2 days later I was told Airbnb had changed its mind. The listing number is 49039339. I can't seem to get anywhere with support. Most of the time the calls get dropped.

Rick Culleton

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
Montgomery, AL
Level 2

It's a start, but much more needs to be addressed with the host in mind.  Airbnb is nothing without its guests, but it is also nothing without its hosts, and hosts lose conflicts every time Airbnb is the judge.  Your synched calendars don't always synch, double booking guests.  Some people just like to go trash a property, and I have had zero support on this.  some people have very unreasonable and often false reviews.  Airbnb needs to address these issues quickly and thoroughly.  Many hosts use multiple formats to rent their properties, and several of these formats are now a better tool for many guests and hosts than Airbnb.  While they do not have the name recognition of Airbnb, many hosts and guests are switching because of lower coasts and complications. This will become an even larger trend unless Airbnb makes some efficient remedies. Please consider that as you continue to address these problems.

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
Church Creek, MD
Level 10

Hi all.....it's just smoke and mirrors in my opinion.   It's like they think tell them what they want to hear is all Admin needs to do, as tho we don't remember what was promised.   About CS, I remember coming here to the CC to ask if anyone had the phone number, it was no longer available here.???  My phone ended up in the Chesapeake Bay and I lost everyone.  You'd think having/keeping the phone number for support would be an obvious need, guess not.  A host did share the number and another said you can find it by googling it, R.E.A.L.L.Y, we have to go to that extent for a phone number to ask for help with an issue.  I recently seen someone here mention a guest not having a profile photo at all, wasn't that against ABB's protocol, answer from Admin..yes it is.  Well I guess they don't really care, I've had 2 bookings the last few weeks or so without an photo.  A photo of themselves, or at the least a person that we can all expect to be themselves, I know for a fact it's been yrs we've complained about the photos.  I had one photo of 3 women at a party, OK so which one are you exactly.?!  The people here now didn't have a phone number, why can't they just program the system to kick them off til they provide what is supposed to be MANDATORY, or a pop-up like every other site, pointing out some info is missing.   And don't get me started on location as a star, if the guest doesn't have the common sense to put my address and where they're visiting in a map search it's not my fault you're still an hr from what you came for.  I had a guest think my town was a whole different place, guess who got 3 stars for location, talk about pissed over being dinged for location, I find it totally asinine. 

 

@Edward196   Good to know about the sync issues, I've opted to not do that for that very reason, can you trust it to work right all the time, guess that's a nope.

 

Well that's my little rant, hope everyone has a nice weekend.!

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
Swansea, United Kingdom
Level 10

Sorry Wende but if you'd been running a business in the way you portray without the Airbnb system I don't think you would have been very successful.

We do have to lift a finger for ourselves on occasion. 

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell  A question. Should I just quit the platform. Really. Here's the deal. I had an inquiry from a producer working for a tv station where I have colleagues. My daughter is coming home for that weekend (in film) and I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet someone in the field. But nope - a family with zero reviews requested the space and my calendar is now blocked. So the producer can't book even though I pre-approved. Have been on the chat with CS for a half hour which is time I don't have to devote to Airbnb given all the other things you've asked me to do as a volunteer.

SO where is this award winning customer service you promised and WHY is a Request to Book from a guest with zero reviews allowed to tie up the calendar and prevent other people from booking.

I spent all day yesterday doing stuff for Airbnb. I have a real job and real deadlines and Airbnb is becoming a huge hassle to manage because you take all the agency away from hosts.

Other hosts said the same thing and I didn't believe them. YOU NEED TO GET THAT ALGORITHM CHANGED NOW! It didn't work that way in the past. I AM LIVID!

Know what Airbnb just told me? Decline the other guest on the off-chance that the guest I wanted to book has not yet found an alternative place. So I have no bookings that weekend.

In the last year Airbnb's algorithms have turned hosting into a hassle. I want the old Airbnb back, not the moronic mess we have now.

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

Update @Catherine-Powell  John E in Customer service decided to "mansplain" how Airbnb works including the language Screen Shot 2021-07-28 at 1.01.25 PM.png

This is 45 minutes of chat, and hold, and "oops" it's your fault. Again - how does someone who was pre-approved get blocked after the pre-approval by someone with no reviews who admits not everyone is vaccinated in their household. And I did note that the only party Airbnb asked me to "not miss out on" was the second guest.

And I can't call the first guest to see if she's still interested because you block all the information.

NOTHING is better with CS.

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

@Catherine-PowellUpdate

Now he's arguing with me that I don't know how to host. John E is suggesting a "request to book" is the same as an actual booking and that I don't know how to do my job.

Is John E  what is passing for competence in Customer Service? I'm officially reporting him.

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

Update - I had no way to decline the second guest and reopen the calendar without making the second guest ineligible to rebook. And if I said "dates unavailable," Airbnb would have blocked my calendar, forcing me to find a way to contact the producer (whose identity was hidden) and book offline - something I am trying hard not to do.

For bonus points, a new Customer Service rep called the weekend, days after I resolved the issue, and said they were ready to look into it. Had not even read the file.

Hosts deserve better than this. Spend more money on CS (but you wouldn't have to if you weren't constantly getting in the middle of our host/guest communication and bookings).

Re: Answers to Hosts’ top questions from our Global Host Tour

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell  All your job seems to consist of is putting up feel-good videos full of empty promises and untruths about how much better you have made things for hosts. 

 

Nothing  promised by you has manifested, hosts post daily here about having their listings suspended based on some disgruntled guest's lies, and customer service has gotten so bad that hosts can't depend on them to even understand an issue, let alone resolve it satisfactorily.

 

How do you sleep at night? You should be ashamed of yourself.

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