Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

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If you watched the first Host Update from our new Global Head of Hosting Catherine Powell, you’ll know that we are working on rebuilding our business around hosts, and giving you more transparency along the way. 

 

Today, we’re sharing Catherine’s latest Host Update with you. In this video, she discusses important priorities and insights for hosts at Airbnb right now. These include how Airbnb is handling parties, active steps being taken to support Superhosts, and why it can pay off to commit to higher standards for cleaning. 

 

 

Once you’ve watched the video, we’d really love to hear from you. Please let us know what you’d like us to cover in future Host Updates with Catherine.

 

Thank you.

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138 Replies

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Hi Catherine, thank you for the update. There are a lot of positives to be taken from it and thank you for listening with your big Mickey Mouse ears!

 

It's great that the issue of unauthorised parties (no a problem I deal with, but clearly a problem for many hosts recently) is being addressed and that we get to keep our Superhost status regardless of number of bookings.

 

I do have some questions though.

 

RE the ECP, I have not signed up for this as there are several things that seem entirely unrealistic within it and not based on current expert scientific opinion and many other hosts seems to think the same. I know that it probably took a lot of time to develop, but I don't believe it reflects the current situation. I prefer to be honest, but I am pretty sure that a lot of hosts have signed up for this and got the badge, but are NOT actually following it (as attested by some guests on the CC), thereby putting the rest of us at a disadvantage. Will this be updated to reflect actual current scientific guidance?

 

Good to know that cancellations will not automatically be applied to post March 15th bookings, unless the host/guest is sick with COVID-19 or the host is unable to accommodate the guest. That is not what I understood when reading the policy, but I assume that has now been updated?

 

However, one thing that has particularly concerned me of late is the whole policy of letting guests "attest" to extenuating circumstances, rather than prove the, in which case they get an Airbnb credit that Airbnb benefits from, but the host of the original booking does not.  It would be great if you could please address this issue in your next update on cancellations as it doesn't really seem ethical to me and maybe not even legal.

 

I know that part of the reason for doing this was probably due to lack of CS staff and not being able to cope with going through all the documentation of proof if guests were actually required to provide this, but a cynical person (me?) might say that this policy is very much in Airbnb's interests. In an ideal world, where a guest has not been able to provide proof of EC, and does not go on to use their credit with another booking, the original host should be refunded part of that payment. Airbnb should not be keeping accommodation fees under any circumstances! They belong either to the guest or the host and, in fairness, should be divided between the two, not go into Airbnb's coffers...

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

Administrator in
Malibu, CA
Administrator

Hi @Huma0,

 

Thanks for your feedback here.

 

@Mark116 @Emilia42 @Huma0 you might know we developed our ECP working closely with experts including Dr Vivek Murthy, the former US Surgeon General. All hosts who have agreed to our Enhanced Cleaning Protocol have a legal duty to uphold these standards, and any hosts who do not comply, after agreeing, will be subject to investigation, and Airbnb will have the right to remove their listing pending such enquiries. Many hosts have asked for, and are happy to have, some clear guidelines on how to sanitise their homes ahead of receiving guests at this time, but of course the guidelines won't be suitable for all, which is why the ECP is currently optional. We also have insights (which we are sharing with hosts) that guests want this reassurance and the bookings of those hosts who have attested are higher.

 

@Huma0 with regards to cancellations, if a guest or host has to cancel under the EC policy, then they must provide proof of their reason for cancelling.

 

Thanks, Catherine

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell  I appreciate your response, and I'm sure that a lot of work went into your ECP, but it's still an unrealistic standard.  I doubt even a thin majority of hosts who signed up are doing 100%---washing all the walls, washing all the windows and frames, washing the porch ceiling, washing the fabric drapes and washing every item in the kitchen whether it was used or not, then throwing away or sanitizing everything used to clean with. 

 

We initially signed up based on the summary...wear coverings when cleaning, clean and then sanitize...sounded great.  Once I read the actual protocol, and did a cleaning for our first guest based on ECP it was clear it was not 'do-able' without a significant increase in the cleaning fee to cover the many, many extra hours and costs. 

 

I will restate my proposal that instead of a protocol that almost no one is going to follow, a drop down menu on cleaning that lists a series of actions the host can check or not check, similar to the amenities list, would give guests a realistic idea of what the cleaning standards are in a given place, rather than what is almost surely a false sense of security with the ECP badge.  

 

Possibly if Airbnb had listened to input from hosts when developing the ECP such a system would have been put in place initially.  I don't expect Airbnb to change its ECP since it provides a great liability blanket although it isn't helpful to anyone but Airbnb. 

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Graton, CA
Level 4

Totally agree with this feedback. I tried multiple times to do the cleaning protocol, I really wanted to do it, but washing all the walls and ceilings and drapes and every dish in the house and having a 24 hour buffer between every guest when you are booked solid is just unrealistic and I would have to double or triple my prices to comply and would have had to cancel a lot of guests for the buffer issue. Guests want all touched surfaces sanitized, no one cares if the ceiling and the walls are sanitized, this is so over the top. I have to use my listing description now to inform guests of what we do cleaning wise which I feel is better than participating in this program. I know hosts who are not following the protocol but still have the badge. But I am an honest person and would not do that. I was also told two conflicting things by CS, that the 24 hour buffer was required and others said it was not, I gave up trying to get the correct info, it is was too complicated and confusing the way it is laid out, and unnecessary. I am very paranoid about covid and cleaning, but this protocol is just over the top even for me and I am on the extreme spectrum when it comes to concerns about it. And the protocol lacks one of the most important things like air filtration and ventilation. This protocol is over wrought and needs to be updated. 

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Trinette---Chris0 I stayed with a host this summer who had the cleaning protocol badge and she did not have the 24-hour buffer in place. 

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Graton, CA
Level 4

Thank you. Yes, most hosts are not doing the 24 hour buffer, but it clearly says in the instructions that you need to do at least a 3 hour buffer and better to do a 24 hour buffer and I have gotten mixed info from CS about it. We are booked with same day turn overs so we can’t even do the 3 hour buffer, I can tell you none of our guests have cared because we leave the doors and windows open and we have two HEPA air filters running on arrival and our cleaners wear masks and gloves the whole time, but I don’t feel comfortable having the badge if I am not doing exactly what it says you have to do. 

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Trinette---Chris0 I am exactly the same way. I have a cleaner space then the hosts with the badge but like you, I don't feel comfortable having the badge unless I am following the protocol 100%. Unless it starts to affect my booking rate I will go without it. I am not washing curtains/blinds between every guest or cleaning every single kitchen item if the kitchen has clearly not been touched. I am also not changing the vacuum bag every time. And even though I swap out all linen between guests, I don't always use the hottest water to wash. 

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Catherine-Powell 

 

Thank you for your response. RE ECP, basically what @Mark116 said. I seriously doubt more than a tiny portion of hosts are following a lot of it. Is it fair then, to the hosts like me who prefer to be honest and not make false claims, that those hosts get more bookings? As for monitoring it, are you relying on guest feedback, i.e. this new 'did you feel unsafe in this listing?' question? The wording of that is problematic, but that's a whole other issue.

 

From my experience, not one guest who has enquired about my listings (and there have been a lot recently) has asked a single question in relation to COVID-19 safety measures or cleaning. They don't seem in the least bit interested, so I don't think many guests would complain unless the listing was generally dirty. Are you expecting a guest to contact Airbnb if they think a ceiling hadn't just been washed before they arrived?

 

RE the Extenuating Circumstances Policy, is this a recent change, because this was not my understanding, based on what was written in the policy, what an Airbnb CS rep told me and from my personal experience?

 

I had one guest instantly get a full refund by 'attesting' and not even attesting to things that are covered by the policy. He was not sick and there were no restrictions in place to prevent him from coming. He simply did not want to travel. Who knows if he told Airbnb the truth or not, but he certainly wasn't required to provide any evidence. I know this because he told me himself and also it was not possible for evidence to be provided and verified in the few minutes it took him to get hs refund.

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Frisco, TX
Level 2

@Catherine-Powell 

Thank you for all your information and help on the things that are truly suffering with the "new and, not improved" AirBnb post-Covid announcement. I am a host who had 8 full homes in the north Dallas area, and with the change in AirBnb, I sold one of them, signed long term leases with two others and stopped accepting co-host management offers from friends who wanted me to manage their homes, if they put them on AirBnb. These messages offer me great hope and I am hopeful knowing you are there.

 

I was trying to assist a guest who couldn't match with one of my own listings last week, as I want to help them when possible, to find another AirBnb. When seeking a place, I found one, saw the ECP badge, but read the comments and house rules etc. This host actually lists that the guests must do the laundry, dishes and make the home ready for the next guests after they depart! They do state a "fee" will be assessed if the home is not up to standards of the next guest. However, knowing my own guests, even myself as a guest, the way I leave an AirBnb is in no way going to meet the ECP required to earn this badge! Our housekeepers have had to purchase special cleaning products and equipment to uphold it and spend as much as 5 hours with 1-2 people in a 3 bedroom home. The laundry from a 3 bedroom home takes 4-5 loads when truly washing everything that was left out for a guest to possibly touch or use: 2 towels/handtowels minimum per guest, linens, bedspread/quilts/duvets, extra blankets, pillow covers, wiping down encasements on mattresses and bed pillows...

No guest will meet these guidelines on behalf of a host, for the next guest. They don't even know or need to know all the details we go through for the ECP badge and level of sanitation and cleanliness, nor would the products be in the house to use, and in many cases, are not available to purchase locally. 

 

How can this host be doing this? Offering this badge of service and still be offering homes on AirBnb? 

Again, thank you for everything the new team is doing. I am one of the Superhosts who stuck this out, and has prayed for improvement to come soon! This is the best news short of a cure for Covid, for me!

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@LeAnn14 I would think that over 80% of those with the badge do not follow the full cleaning protocol. I just hope they have good legal insurance if a guest chooses to sue them for misrepresentation.

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Frisco, TX
Level 2

Agree. But in this case, they state in their own rules the guests must clean for the next guests! And Host has accepted the cleaning protocol. Situations like this don’t take much research or complaints for Airbnb to take them down. 

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

So, this message still pops up when I open my dashboard:

 

"

Reservations after 31 May 2020 aren't eligible for support payments
As a reminder, the $250m support fund was set up to help hosts affected by COVID-19-related cancellations until the end of May. Reservations starting after 31 May 2020 won’t be eligible for support payments. Learn more
Guests who can't travel due to COVID-19 may still be able to qualify for a full refund by submitting proof of an eligible extenuating circumstance.
 
Catherine, could you please confirm that this actually means guests who booked after 15th March will need to provide actual evidence of extenuating circumstances, not just 'attest' to it?

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Germany
Level 10

.

The new airbnb anti-party policy is one step into the right direction.

 

Very new to me is Cathrines statement that we hosts can cancel a reservation penalty-free if we detect a party on the horizon. Let's see how this will hold up with airbnb's (currently) unavailable customer service.

 

Re: Party policy updates, Superhost status extensions, and more in Catherine’s latest Host Update

in
Atlanta, GA
Level 2

I just recently cancelled a guests due to intention of having upwards of 30 people attending. He didn't tell me that at the time of instant booking. I've since canceled but now my dates are blocked on my calendar and I can't get any assistance!

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