Strengthening our commitment to community standards

Strengthening our commitment to community standards

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Hosts around the world have told us how much hosting means to them—personally and financially—and how rewarding great guest experiences can be. On the flip side, a bad experience with a guest can be frustrating and, in rare cases, even disruptive. We know these moments can meaningfully impact you and your time, money, and local community.

 

You’ve also given us feedback that you’d like us to hold the entire community, both hosts and guests, to the same high standards. We agree. That’s why in early 2020, we’ll be rolling out enhanced guest standards that set higher expectations for a trustworthy community. 

 

Establishing stronger guest standards

Our new Guest Standards Policy will clarify what Airbnb expects of guests, with the goal of ensuring that hosts can consistently have more positive experiences. When a guest doesn’t meet one of the standards outlined in the policy, they’ll receive a warning with education around how to be a better guest. We’ll track and weigh infractions (based on their severity), and repeated infractions may lead to suspension or removal of a guest 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 for guests who engage in less serious misconduct, so that we can educate and take appropriate action against those guests. 

 

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. 

 

So what are the standards?

The new guest standards address some of the most common concerns expressed by our host community, and support our broader efforts to address parties that are unauthorized or disturb the community. Beginning in early 2020, the new policy will cover these five scenarios:

 

  1. Excessive noise: A disruptive level of noise, like loud music, prolonged shouting, or repeated pounding or stomping. It does not include complaints about minor or short-term disruptions (like a loud phone call) or noise that can’t be avoided (like walking up and down the stairs).
  2. Major cleanliness concerns: Anything that requires excessive cleaning after a guest checks out. This means extensive amounts of trash, debris, or food strewn throughout the property. It does not mean minor messes (like food left in the fridge or bagged trash left next to a trash can) or anything that could be considered part of normal wear and tear or turnover (like unwashed linens or a dirty kitchen).
  3. Unauthorized guests: When more guests stay overnight or visit the space than the host has authorized for that reservation.
  4. Unauthorized parking: When a guest or one of their visitors parks in an area that the host designated as off-limits, or when a guest or their visitors exceeds the number of cars that the host allows to park at the property, as set out in the listing description.
  5. Unauthorized smoking: When a guest or one of their visitors smokes inside the listing and the listing description prohibits smoking (this includes the use of tobacco, marijuana, e-cigarettes, etc.).

 

The new Guest Standards Policy kicks in when it’s been determined that a guest has engaged in one of these behaviors. Hosts may report a violation, and we’ll also accept reports of excessive noise through our Neighbor Reporting tool or from local law enforcement. 

 

What you can do 

We encourage you to clearly outline what you expect of guests in your House Rules, listing description, and messages to your guests. 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 policy. 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. 

 

What comes next 

The second phase of the rollout will include additional scenarios we know are top of mind for you, like late checkouts, late check-ins, and unauthorized pets. Our goal is to roll out these additional standards later in 2020. Over time, and with your feedback, we expect to cover even more situations that are important to you. 

 

Your top questions, answered

Over the past few weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time talking to hosts and collecting feedback on this new policy. We’ve addressed a few of the top questions below.

 

 

Why are you rolling out guest standards in phases? 

These new standards represent a significant change for the community (both hosts and guests), and we want to make sure they’re working as intended before we expand them. Rolling out the policy in phases lets us carefully experiment with the standards, education and warning systems, processes, and technology systems we’re using. We aim to gradually expand and refine the policy to address other challenges that are specific to certain groups of hosts as well as different property types. This will be a journey, and we appreciate your input along the way. 

 

What happens if I report an urgent safety incident while it’s occurring?

If you or your property is in danger, you should always contact local authorities first. We already have policies in place to handle severe safety issues, like assault and violent threats. Violators of these policies are, and will continue to be, subject to immediate removal from the platform. We’re also in the process of rolling out an Urgent Support Line that routes hosts directly to agents who are specifically trained to handle these kinds of calls. The goal is to ensure your call is handled quickly and consistently, so you feel supported every time. 

 

How will I be supported when I call in with an issue about a guest in one of these scenarios?

As part of the new policy, hosts can request penalty-free cancellations for the remaining nights in a reservation when a guest has violated these standards and the situation cannot be resolved. And as always, if there is any damage to your property as a result of one of the above scenarios, you can file a claim under our $1,000,000 USD Host Guarantee.   

 

Why aren’t you enforcing all of my House Rules?

Initially, the new Guest Standards Policy will focus on the House Rules that hosts have told us they care about most. We know there are lots of other scenarios that hosts include in their House Rules and listing details. And while these scenarios are important to you, they may not be relevant to all hosts (e.g. rules around whether shoes or certain types of food are allowed in the home). Although these more personal rules aren’t covered by our new Guest Standards Policy, you can help set the right expectations with clear communication—sometimes a respectful reminder can be enough to resolve an issue. 

 

Keep the feedback coming

You've been telling us we need more robust guest standards to make our community stronger. We expect that, over time, these changes will improve guest behavior and your experiences as a host. We’re pleased to take this critical step in our journey to improve safety and reliability for our hosts. There’s still a lot more work to be done, and we appreciate your ongoing input. 

 

The growth of our community, and the trust we’ve built, could not have happened without your partnership. Thank you for all you do, and please let us know if you have any feedback in the comments below. 

754 Replies 754
Anastasia--Ann0
Level 2
Virginia Beach, VA

It's alarming that they are pushing their political agenda on a business community.

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

Oh yeah? Maybe you should do some research and see which stores and companies you do business with donate to  political campaigns. Just because they don't broadcast it doesn't mean they don't.

@Anastasia--Ann0

Rick-And-Donna3
Level 2
Waterford, ME

Just heard that Airbnb cancelled a reservation because it was made by a member of a "hate group".  Just trying to verify that Airbnb is deciding what people can book and what people cannot.  Isn't that my decision as a host?  

Airbnb is a platform, and I am the decision maker.  I feel the same way about the requirements they are making me agree to in order to make my home 'safe'  regarding covid. 

Annette704
Level 2
Kelowna, Canada

We've been extremely fortunate, every season we do experience at least one guest that abuses our house/strata rules.  This year we had a guest abuse our noise and parking rules and our strata imposed a $300 fine.  In my mind this should have come out of a refundable damage deposit, however I had to report this to Air BnB on the website with proof.  The guest agreed to pay for the parking portion, but disputed the noise violation.  I requested that Air BnB pursue the matter, which took months, but I did get a response back and partial payment.  I will say that Air BnB was VERY polite responsive when we finally did hear back from them, but the it took way too long to get this resolved when there was documented proof provided from our Strata.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Sorry if it's already been answered, but this thread is 50 pages long... So, has Airbnb already rolled this out (they said early 2020)? More importantly, are guests given this information when they book/prior to their stay? They say prevention is the best cure (we are almost all of us trying out that theory in the current pandemic situation) so rather than cause disputes and hostility with guests that result in retaliatory reviews that Airbnb usually refuses to remove, wouldn't it be best for guests to be informed before their stay that they need to abide by these rules or face some consequences? I think that would go a long way to prevent these kinds of issues.

 

In the current situation, the hosts that are still able to take bookings may lower their standards, so to speak, in terms of screening guests or enforcing house rules, because they are so desperate for bookings in these challenging times. I think that hosts need protection more than ever...

Adam784
Level 2
Pentewan, United Kingdom

You are taking bookings in London?! Really?

Anne668
Level 3
Bedford, United Kingdom

This is all very well, but while guests can hit us through the review system – one unpleasant review could cost us thousands in lost bookings – we will never feel we can challenge out-of-order guests with impunity, however outrageous the behaviour. Nothing will protect us until you protect us from unfair reviews.

Julia2632
Level 2
Odesa, UA

I agree with you. One negative vindictive review can kill your SH status which you were trying to get for a long period. It is ok that airbnb does not want to remove bad reviews but the whole system of Super host makes a big segregation from other hosts. None of other booking systems have this super host category. If you want to be a superhost, you should always repair everything that was done by careless customers at your own expense and have no right to say anything, otherwise you get bad review.  It makes some customers abuse the hospitality knowing the owner is afraid. I have a friend who has a bed bound mother for many years and she is afraid to lose super host status and I hear a lot of stories from her about customers who smoke, who brings more people and etc. I feel sorry for her because of this. I wish airbnb would cancel this chase for superhost status. It would not make the service better. Like in Booking.com, there is only rating in digits and it is enough to judge!

Sarah977
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Julia2632  It's only a chase for Superhost status if a host plays into it. I agree that it's a stupid carrot they dangle that causes some hosts to put up with all manner of bad guest behavior. But many of us who have SH only have it because we've never cancelled a reservation, answer messages promptly, don't decline a lot of bookings, and are lucky to get nice guests who leave good reviews, not because we put up with bad behavior or have to repair guest damages on our own money.

It's not really anything worth chasing or ignoring bad guest behavior for. Hosts who have had that status and lost it due to a bad rating or two, have reported that it didn't make a bit of difference to their ability to get bookings.

Maya377
Level 2
California, US

Where is the Guest Standards Policy on Airbnb's website? I searched through help pages and cannot fine them. It would be nice if that link was part of every guest's reservation page, to highlight expectations of guests to behave in a certain way.

Aisling Hassell is female. 

Okay, about those escalations ......

 

This is not about violence, but a guest came in and from the moment he showed up he nearly broke the keypad entry, demanded to come in early, insisted I checked his parking, and refused to flush. His review was WORST HOST EVER and a 1 star, which blew up my SH status after 2 years consecutively. 

 

Air kept saying it didn't violate their TOS. Any way of persuading them otherwise?

Brad-and-Jemma0
Level 2
Byron Bay, AU

Recently in Byron Bay, NSW, Australia  there is consideration of council implementing a 90 day rule on hosts not in certain areas. The council was doing an assessment and created an interactive map that required people to select 90 or 365 day areas.

 

I found it very difficult to connect with other hosts and get them involved to contribute and balance the scales against those residents not renting their home. Also I could not get any support from AirBNB either despite fact it will heavily effect their commissions too of one of most popular destinations in Australia.

 

1. Create a way for Hosts to contribute issues (curated by AIrbnb if required) like a notice board that can go out in effective notification to all hosts in the area. this would have been awesome in this scenario. Also it can be a way to alert to other rules/regulations in the area too.

 

2. Also a way to collate ideas on how council could approach this differently. Like rather than restricting hosts, adding a tax on bookings so they can address concerns like load on infrastructure etc directly with these funds. Creative ways of the community offering other solutions in these important decision making times.

 

The fact you cut ability to share emails and phone numbers, restricts the ability of the community to work as a whole and have a more powerful voice.

 

Thanks for this info.  I particularly like the "no parties" rule.  It is easier to tell potential guests it is Airbnb rules than mine.  

Alex1600
Level 2
Moscow Oblast, Russia

Thanks. Sounds good!

Tatyana52
Level 1
СПБ, RU

 Thanks 

Mariya37
Level 2
Yekaterinburg, RU

Хорошая и полезная информация, спасибо!

Mariya37
Level 2
Yekaterinburg, RU

Я нашла ответ на мои вопросы. Спасибо!

Axel46
Level 2
Hilo, HI

I don't understand why Airbnb insists on hurting its own business with bad guests and with such a strong anti-host and pro guest bias. Even in areas where Airbnb has control it doesn't do very much. The bias against hosts and in favor of guests is over the top and ultimately will hurt Airbnb in the long run. One of our listing is already organically transitioning to almost all VRBO and Booking.com (other channels) bookings because of a few real bad Airbnb guests that have left bad and untruthful reviews that Airbnb refused to remove. We've had smokers who left bad reviews because they didn't like the fact that we asked them not to smoke even though they booked a non-smoking listing. In the long run it appears not to be an issue for us to lose the Airbnb business as whatever business is vacated by Airbnb gets filled in by the competition. Unfortunately, while we started out as 100% Airbnb based community, the lack of respect that Airbnb is giving hosts has forced us to migrate to other channels in addition to airbnb, and we're doing much better with those channels. I have heard the same thing from many other property managers, they are all singing the praises of the other channels who are much more supportive of hosts and property managers. I hope this changes as I do like Airbnb a lot.

Dear AirBnb, you've taken a very tiny step but it's not even near what we need 

As hosts we give them access to our properties and, fortunately a very small percentage of guests, treat them like trash. I have had a number of problems and you never backed me up. You won't allow us to charge deposit in cash and be in control of them, we can't put an age or type of group limit because that would be disrespectful. But they can trash our spaces and only after having done so "on a few occasions" you will ban them from the platform? And what about if, even after doing so they book under a friends name? as this is usually groups of friends...
I have been hosting professionally for 22 years now and I am certain we were doing much better before!!

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