Thanks for all of your feedback on the recent changes we announced to the guest profile photo process. Our team has read each and every one of your comments. We understand many of you are feeling frustrated right now, so we want to respond with some more details and clarification.
First, we want to acknowledge that this is a complicated and emotional topic: It touches on elements such as discrimination, choice, safety, and equality between Airbnb hosts and guests. As always, we’ve been really impressed by the quality of the conversations, and the supportiveness of the community in this thread. We’ve had significant discussion and debate about it internally at Airbnb, too. It’s clear that we need to keep listening and engaging with you (our hosts and partners) on this topic, and we commit to continuing to do so.
At the same time, it’s important that we also continue to take guest concerns into account. Most guests do provide a profile photo, but others told us that they didn’t want to share a picture of themselves when booking on Airbnb because they’re concerned their photos could be misused in a way that violates Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy. As you know, Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where people can belong anywhere, and we want to make sure guests can feel comfortable when they travel on Airbnb.
We also know from many conversations with hosts (and from reading through your comments here) that you really value profile photos, for several important reasons (knowing what guests look like before they arrive, feeling safer, etc.). We always want to balance the needs of both hosts and guests and, at the same time, make sure we’re working towards Airbnb’s mission. It can be exceptionally hard to get that balance right, but we tried to do this with these recent changes.
As we highlighted in our previous post, the new policy means that Airbnb will not require guests to provide a profile photo and that, for those guests who choose to provide a profile photo, those photos will not be shown to hosts until after the booking is accepted. At the same time, we introduced a new host control that allows you to opt in to require that your guests provide a profile photo prior to submitting a booking request. This photo will be shown to hosts as soon as you accept the booking request, so you’ll be able to ensure you know what your guests look like before they arrive. In addition, you can always require your guests to provide a government ID to Airbnb, as well (more on that here).
Here are a few more tips to help you build trust with guests before a trip:
Now, there are a few key themes we read in your comments about these changes, and we want to take a few minutes to address each of them:
Safety: Many of you mentioned that you’re not comfortable hosting someone who doesn't want to show their face, and some of you pointed out that you’re in challenging situations (remote locations and solo female hosts, for instance). This is an incredibly important topic. We’ve read through your responses, and we are committed to looking for ways to build trust between guests and hosts in all situations.
We’d like to extend an invitation to the engaged host community following this thread. Our home safety team is brainstorming ideas for how we could improve your experience and ensure you feel more safe hosting. While we have lots of ideas, we know the best solutions will come from listening to you, so we’d like to connect directly. Please let us know in the comments, below.
Timing: Many of you asked when you would see the changes to the guest profile photo process occur. We’re rolling them out gradually, as we often do with new products or processes. Currently, these changes have been introduced to 75% of hosts globally, and in the coming weeks will be available to 100% of hosts.
Profile photos: A number of you raised concerns about profile photos that show a picture of a sunset or the guest’s dog instead of the guest themselves. We have updated our policies to address these concerns. If you choose to turn on the new control and require that your guests have a profile photo, you can call Airbnb’s Community Support if you accept a reservation from a guest that does not have a profile photo of themselves. Our Community Support team will work with you to address the situation. If you feel uncomfortable hosting someone without a photo of themselves, you can request to cancel the reservation penalty-free. (We recommend messaging the guest directly before cancelling.)
Discrimination: We do not condone discrimination by any member of the Airbnb community. These changes are part of our commitment to combating discrimination. Many of you responded that you believe these changes were unnecessary because you share our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We appreciate that feedback and can’t overstate the importance of having a host community that is engaged on this topic. Nonetheless, guests have consistently told us that they have concerns about hosts making decisions based on profile photos in violation of our Non-discrimination policy. We believe the changes to how we display photos addresses these concerns while balancing hosts’ interest in seeing potential guests before they arrive. Making these changes was an incredibly complex decision, for all the reasons you raised, but after significant debate (and working with many experts on this topic), we decided they were crucial changes to make.
Thank you for continuing to give us feedback and support as we strive to continue improving Airbnb for both hosts and guests. We hope you understand that we needed to make these changes to ensure a world of belonging and inclusivity. Please continue to tell us how we can improve, and we’ll continue to listen and adjust as we work to ensure you can feel comfortable and confident hosting.
The Airbnb Team
I wrote a review for my last guest but it appears that he chose not to respond by writing a review for me as host. He was new to airbnb and very pleasant guy, Does my review for him get posted regardless?
Yes. There could easily be a box for the guest to acknowledge acceptance of the house rules and many other aspects of booking, just like every other site that requires complaince with "terms and conditions" and as airbnb has required of all hosts, numerous times. This is just another example of "selective policy application" aka discrimination BY AIRBNB.
The following should be REQUIRED of ALL potential guests as a condition of registration and booking on airbnb for everyone's safety (including the airbnb corporation):
1-clear, recent, regognizeable facial photo of the booking/financially responsible party
2- uploaded government photo ID that matches the photo in #1
3- current home town of the booking party that matches the ID
4- correct number of guests being booked
5- verified method of payment before being allowed to book--i've had too many delays or had to cancel because this was not done before booking...for which I am penalized, not the guest.
6- that the guest be willing to respond to messages so hosts can prepare for thier stay and know when to expect them....just as we are required to respond to them within certain timeframes.
7- guest must check box(es) to confirm they have read the complete listing and house rules, and understand and agree to what they include.
...and I'd like to add this as a requirement for airbnb: STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST AND PENALIZING HOSTS WHO DO NOT USE INSTANT BOOK.
YOUR ASSERTIONS THAT WE NEED ONLY "TURN ON THE ID, PHOTO, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS" PREVIOUSLY IN THIS THREAD AND OTHERS ONLY WORKS WITH INSTANT BOOK, so for the rest of us, the platitudes offered are totally useless and insulting DISCRIMINATION AGAINST HOSTS WHO DO NOT USE INSTANT BOOK.
Many of us choose NOT to instant book for valid reasons stated many times that have been totally/conveniently ignored by airbnb mangement, even now months later, which adds insult to injury. It's not because we don't want business. We need (and have a right) to vet our guests before booking for safety and liability reasons because this is our property and we stand to lose everything when you bail on your "$1 million host protection policy, which has so many loopholes...and more added with the recent relaxation of guest requirements.
This is a bully psychology and I'm not interested in being any part of it.
IF THE BUSINESS OF INDEPENDENT HOSTS WHO CHOOSE TO APPROVE EACH BOOKING (who this platform was built upon) IS NOT WORTHY OF AIRBNB UPHOLDING IT'S OWN "NON-DICRIMINATION" RULE towards us (you are overtly descriminating against us by limiting our access to these needed safety measures), THEN AIRBNB IS VIOLATING IT'S OWN POLICY AND THE PLATITUDES OF "JUST TURN IT ON AT ____ LINK" ARE LIES IN WRITING, WHICH FURTHER DAMAGES AIRBNB'S CREDIBILITY (screen shots saved).
ALL CAPS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN FOR THIS POST BECAUSE THIS IS TOTALLY ABOUT POLITICS AND PROFITS, NOT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION.
IPO ANY DAY NOW HOSTS...
I agree with everything you stated with 1 exception. Im not really concern with guests having to show ID/Photos prior to booking but they should have to show them immediately after the booking or prior to arrival or even the day on arrival. It is a dangerous liability allowing a person to stay in your home without photo verification. Each individual that stays presence a risk to you, your home and your insurance should they get injured. In New York where I live there is no legal standing for Airbnb as it doesn't fall under hotel, motel or B&B's. The only insurance we have is how good your attorney is in court.
@Susan1028 100% agreement here. It's disgusting what's going on.
And here's another thing that they should do to guests- if they cancel a booking without a valid extenuating circumstance, they should not be allowed to book another listing for those dates, just as we have our calendars blocked if we cancel a reservation. This would cut down on cancellations because the guest failed to read the listing description, or made several reservations for the same dates to hold the dates while they decided which one they really wanted, cancelling the others for a full refund 47 hours later.
Since I listed one of my rooms on IB, I have had many cancelations.I do not feel I get more reservations that actually end up staying with me because of this.I agree with the previous post.I have taken all my listings off IB because of all the concerns I have.
We have hosted people from all over the world, hetero and bi sexuals, and whoever else with no discrimination. We welcome all races, religions, andasexual orientations.Why is Airbnb treating it's hosts so unfairly???
I feel very uncomfortable accepting a guest without seeing a photo. I suddenly noticed no picture when someone recently asked a question about the most recent rental I put up. Am now seeing it was a policy introduced. I am wondering if it is not since this change came about that my bookings have fallen off. Nothing in an age. Just endless notifications from AirBnB to tell me to drop my prices. I expect, seeing we are not allowed to see who is booking with us, that the people booking are not seeing pictures of the hosts. It would make no sense for the "rule" to not work both ways as all the same considerations would apply on either side. Am I correct about this? What happened to AirBnB being about relationships? I am looking into rather joining bookings.com. Has anyone got any advice or feedback to give on other booking sites? I can't do more than one as I don't have the energy to monitor more than one booking site. Must look for an alternative. I truly don't like the idea of this lack of transparency. It feels creepy.
I completely agree with what most people here are saying, something must be changed and I do not wish to host just anyone that wants to stay in my home if I am not confortable with the person or do not know who is.
I must know if the person that is booking has reviews and his profile. It is for me to decide to accept or not. It not a matter of racism or any kind of discrimination, my house is not an Hotel, but a family house and I must feel confortable, otherwise I think i will have to cancel my account
I have read and share many of the concerns expressed by other hosts in this discussion. I hope airbnb will not loose sight of its origins and what made it unique and appealing, in an attempt to increase market share.
My only problem with no profile photo is the fact that it was the one thing that you could go on for an indication of the future guests age. If I get an enquiry about 6 female/male staying I'd like to know if they are 20+ or 40+ as the questions and concerns I'd have would be different for each group.
Should it be mutual? If you are allowing guests to the pictures of the host, the pictures and the description of the place, then please, demand the guests to realize that the hosts are also people and they would prefer to be treated equally. We, hosts, open up our data for our future guests. Let's guests to be opened to us as well. Why should we be comfortable sharing our space with someone who doesn't want us to see their faces and don't want to let us know what brings them to our town? Those who want to remain anonymous must not use Airbnb.
There's been a whole new level of ...relaxed requirements aka risk for all involved. This cannot wait. Please see the following thread and share any additional facets of concern asap if you wish them to be included in a communication being drafted to airbnb policy-makers, and in general as this continues to evolve:
Thanks to everyone for caring enough to post. There won't be any change if we don't use our voices to generate productive cooperative dialogue and are blazing new trails as the .com "sharing economies" experience growing pains...