Many of you have told us how much you love sharing your space with guests. Beyond the financial rewards, you’re inspired by the personal connections you make with people from all over the world.
Of course, none of that’s possible if you don’t feel protected while you host—you want Airbnb to help prevent things from going wrong and to be available in the rare but unfortunate moments when they do. We hear you, and we wanted to share some of the work we’re doing to enhance the safety of our hosts and broader community.
Ramping up our commitment to community standards
We recently announced our new Guest Standards Policy, which will introduce a system for tracking bad guests. When a guest fails to meet one of the standards outlined in the policy, they'll receive a warning. If the behavior continues, it could lead to suspension or removal from the platform.
These guest standards build upon existing policies we already have in place to address the more serious trust and safety issues that result in immediate removal from the platform. We’re enhancing our system to better monitor guests who engage in less serious misconduct, so that we can educate these guests and take appropriate action to improve our community.
By setting clear standards, staffing teams to take action, and putting technology in place to track noncompliance, we expect to improve overall guest behavior and increase community trust.
Learn more about our enhanced guest standards
Designing tools & features that support you
Even with these standards in place, there will be times when things go wrong. We know it’s painful when they do, and we want you to feel like we have your back. Our team has been working on ways to support you in those moments, and we wanted to share some new features with you.
Urgent Support Line
We recently began piloting our new Urgent Support Line in the U.S. and plan to expand to more countries next year. If you’re in the U.S. with early access through the Airbnb app and you’re experiencing an urgent matter related to your security or safety—like if a guest refuses to leave at checkout—you can tap the “Call Airbnb's Urgent Support Line" button in the Safety Center (available via the Profile tab) to quickly connect to a specialist for help. Keep in mind that the Urgent Support Line button is designed to be available only for active reservations, from the day before check-in to the day after checkout. You can also access the Safety Center via the shield icon at the top of the Host Inbox.
Local emergency line
We know that guests traveling in unfamiliar countries may not know how to contact local emergency services, so we’ve also launched an in-app emergency call button. This button provides a direct line to local law enforcement and emergency services. We’ve already rolled it out in the U.S. and China. We’re adding 29 more countries by the end of the year and even more countries in 2020.
For non-urgent issues, we’ve heard from you that you want the convenience of live chat. So we’re excited that we were able to introduce that feature to English and Mandarin speakers this year, with plans to roll it out in seven more languages next year. Right now, it’s the fastest way to get the help you need for things like updating your calendar or adjusting your pricing.
Remember: Many of these features are still being tested, so some people and regions don’t have access to features, and the product experience and placement of features may change as we iterate and improve. We test new features first so that we can figure out what works best before expanding access. If you’re not seeing the Urgent Support Line or local emergency line, for example, you’ll likely get access at a later phase of the rollout.
Strengthening our customer support teams & processes
Of course, these new features are only as effective as the teams that support them, which is why we’ve prioritized growing and restructuring our customer support team. Here are some of the changes:
A larger, more focused customer support staff
Just this year, we added thousands of new support agents around the globe, and we’ve reorganized and refocused the teams. We’ve set it up so that the more experienced an agent, the more complex the issues he or she will handle. So if, for example, you’re dealing with a guest who refuses to leave, you’ll now reach an agent who specializes in dealing with issues like this without having to explain your issue to multiple agents along the way.
More empathy and efficiency in claims
We’ve heard from you that agents handling claims could be more empathetic, and that you’re frustrated by how long it can take to resolve an issue. We hear you, which is why we’ve been training our claims specialists to better understand why these types of issues can feel so personal and upsetting to hosts. We’ve also implemented a process that speeds up resolution and payout for hosts who are more tenured on the platform.
Greater consistency across the board
Hosts also tell us they want more consistency in how their cases are dealt with. We’re working on improving our workflows to help ensure that the same issues are handled the same way every time.
What you can do
From communicating clearly to using helpful technology, here are some ideas we’ve collected from hosts about what they like to do to help ensure safety and great experiences with their guests.
Set clear expectations
Whether it’s in your House Rules, listing description, or messages, be clear about how you want guests to behave in your space. It’s particularly important to specify your rules around parking, extra guests, and smoking so we know if it should be considered “unauthorized” under the new Guest Standards Policy. By sharing that kind of information up front, you can help confirmed guests understand your expectations and deter potential guests who may not be a great fit.
When a guest fails to uphold these standards, it’s important to begin by addressing the issue with them directly—this is often the quickest path to resolution. In all cases, be ready to provide evidence that demonstrates a rule has been broken, whether that’s photos of excessive trash left in your space, an emailed complaint from a neighbor, or some other documentation.
Get to know your guests
Hosts have told us that they love connecting with the people they’re welcoming into their space. You can use our pre-booking message feature to ask questions and remind them of your House Rules and other guidelines—we’ve increased the character count on the pre-booking message, so you can include even more information than before. Greeting your guests in person can go a long way toward setting the right tone, which may also help you resolve issues more quickly if they arise.
Consider installing a noise monitoring device
If noise from large groups is a concern, a noise monitoring device may help put your mind at ease. Airbnb has recently offered discounts on noise monitoring devices for hosts in certain markets, and will be continuing to explore new technologies to help you protect your space. Keep in mind that these devices don’t actually record sound—they simply monitor the decibel level in your space and alert you via an app when it hits a certain threshold (which you can customize). Just be sure you let guests know if and where you’ve installed monitoring devices of any kind. You can place signs near the devices themselves and should mention them in your listing description, House Rules, or house manual.
The journey ahead
For the Airbnb community to thrive, there has to be trust: in hosts, in guests, and in Airbnb as a company. These changes are an important step toward preserving that trust, but we know there’s still work to be done. It’s a journey, and we appreciate your feedback along the way.