Dear Airbnb Community,
Having read the amazing posts you have left during our Month of Celebration, I am humbled - and a little daunted - to be posting alongside you. I am so touched by your stories. Thank you for sharing so many magical and inspiring messages about the moments that have lifted you up during this uniquely challenging year. You, our Hosts and Guests, have been a constant source of inspiration, resilience, learning and optimism; a clear reminder of how and why the Airbnb community is so special. As the world shut down this past year, you showed how to continue creating connection and belonging for your guests and for our community.
For me, 2020 has certainly been a year of lows and highs. A highlight was joining Airbnb back in January (I can't believe it’s not even a year!). I joined to run Airbnb Experiences, which I had to suspend barely two months later as the pandemic was declared. Then we launched Online Experiences, on the suggestion of our Hosts, who continue to create magical experiences for our guests, bringing friends, families and teams together who otherwise would not be able to connect.
Then in July I took over Hosting, bringing together Homes and Experiences. My mission was to put hosting back at the centre of Airbnb. Brian called it going back to our roots. The pandemic hit our Hosts, our Guests, and Airbnb. Hard. We had to focus on our strength (ie. you, our Hosts). And that is what I have done. I heard directly, bluntly, how challenging it had been for some of you and how frustrated you were and I also heard, and read, how you were coping and adapting. We worked on many of your ideas and addressed your concerns, whether it was introducing party bans or sharing new guest travel trends. And, we have ended the year creating the Host Endowment and launching the Host Advisory Board.
On a more personal note, I have deeply missed being able to travel, and particularly not being able to see my family in the UK. But I have spent more time with my husband and sons these past eight months than I have these past eight years! My husband has taught himself to cook (after 52 years) and we haven’t run out of conversation! We also have a dog for the first time ever. We went big. Ozzy (in honour of our time downunder!) is half Pyrenees, half St Bernard with some Collie. He sheds like crazy and is a real drooler, but he has brought so much love and delight to our home. I can’t imagine life without him. While my world has become smaller this year, it has also shown me how deep our layers of love and connection are with those nearest and dearest. We’ve all had to invest in where we are this year, in the space and people that we call home and for that I am thankful.
I am ending this year full of hope and optimism - as so many of you have said in your posts, travel will return. It will likely not be the same as it was, but the human desire to connect to people and places will be stronger than ever. And we will be there to fulfil this desire, sharing our homes, passions and interests, and giving hugs and warm greetings to friends and strangers alike.
Until that time, we will be thinking about what the best version of the future might look like. Airbnb continues to work very hard to improve the experience for our Host and Guest communities. We have made great progress this year, but there is more to be done. And if you have ideas for changes you would like to see in the New Year, please do continue to share them with me and our Community Managers. I value all of the constructive feedback that I receive from you -- our Community is the foundation of the work that we do.
We are looking forward to a wonderful 2021 for Hosts, Guests, and the whole of the Airbnb Community. Thank you for believing in us.
With heartfelt gratitude,
There have been some wonderful ‘discoveries’ @Catherine-Powell , that have emerged from these challenges of 2020. Thank you for sharing. Looks like Ozzie is well at home, he may need a little sister ? (Kiwi 😂)
‘Wishing you and your family Festive Season Joy from us here in NZ 🎄✨🌏
@Catherine-Powell I think I'm in love with Ozzie! What a looker! If we have learned anything this year, it is that we are nimble. Still learning! Cheers to better days ahead, whatever that looks like!
@Catherine-Powell I love hosting dogs! I am currently the proud host of 2 dogs and they get 5 stars with the exception of cleanliness. We often play with what must be some distant cousins of Ozzy's while hiking in the Pyrenees... Happy Holidays from your friends in France!
Beautiful sentiments, @Catherine-Powell , well put! And your Ozzie (in honour of your visit Downunder) looks like a real sweetheart. May 2021 bring you many happy moments, and amazing dishes created by your husband in his 'change of life' cullinary enthusiasm!
Thanks @Catherine-Powell for your efforts in this challenging year.
We had much fun on our adventures when out and about with people's dogs, as well as with Zara when we are together, as I'm sure others have you and your family and will with Ozzy.
They, like animals in general, are a great way to break down barriers in society with their love.
Do you explain to those you meet on your adventures how Ozzy got his name?
@Helen427 for those who ask we do explain the origin of Ozzy's name. Most Brits assume is it Ozzy Osbourne! My Aussie friends get a real kick out of the fact that his father was called.... wait for it.... Bruce!! 😂🤣
Thanks for sharing your experiences during these hard times. Good to know that good things came out of these challenges of 2020.
Ozzy seems to be very friendly and cheerful. I currently don't have a dog but I had one of whom I have incredible memories. I love dogs, they always bring us joy.
I also believe that as soon as the victory against this virus is completed, we will have a travel boom as big as we've never seen before.
I think you has been doing a great job in Airbnb! Thanks!
To you and your family, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
It takes a catastrophe to put life in perspective, as you are now finding out. All through our lives we are slaves to our existence........Our reaction is, "Yeah one day I will get around to that, when we have the house paid off, the kids through school, that new SUV in the garage" All of a sudden something happens that makes you realise.....'Things come and go but, memories are forever!' and that is when you turn your life around and start to look for, quality, not quantity.
My wife Ade got MS in 1976, we were mad keen snow skiers but in 76' she could not stand up, her balance had deserted her. Over the years lots of 'events' happened, she lost her sight for a short duration a couple of times. Can you understand what sort of strain it puts on a relationship when you have to clean a partner when they have been to the toilet.....dignity gets lost in a multiplicity of challenges. constantly being fueled by prescription medications, chasing this elusive mystery disease.
In 1994 she had an MRI scan and there it was, all the scarring in the brain....she had MS. At that point I wound my business back and we traveled and traveled, a couple of decades of it. We spent our retirement because for us, retirement was now, there wasn't a future. Fortunately by that stage our children were independent, and we just went where we liked and enjoyed life.
I think the MS was good for us, it made us realise what is truly important in life, it gave us something to jointly work to...and that was, just being us. Without the MS would we have stayed together? Would we have drifted apart like so many couples our vintage did, wrapped up in their own selfishness, who knows. I know it made me grow a backbone, made me realise that some things in life you have to step up to the plate for, you can't just walk away to greener pastures, but, together we discovered those greener pastures, just as I am sure you are now Catherine!
Make the most of these times you have together with your family, love that Ozzy, just as he loves you, the love of a dog is unconditional. There is an old story....'Lock your wife and your dog in the garage for an hour and on return, who will be pleased to see you'
I hope you have a wonderful festive season, and lets all look to a new togetherness in 2021!
Ho ho ho ho ho......
@Robin4 rob, thank you for your moving message. what an ordeal you and your beautiful wife, Ade, have been through. You both look so happy and strong in that photo. And what a life you have chosen to lead in the face of such stressful adversity. A close friend of mine (from school) was diagnosed with MS very young (barely 25). She is another incredible source of inspiration.
I love your story about the dog and the wife. I just read it out loud to my husband, who laughed (nervously?!)
I wish you and Ade the happiest of Christmases and maybe we will have the chance to connect when travel resumes. Warmest wishes to you both, Catherine
Hey @Robin4 , yes we all have challenges however I do think you need to consider Ade's dignity ahead of your own grandstanding when you post something like this..
"Can you understand what sort of strain it puts on a relationship when you have to clean a partner when they have been to the toilet.....dignity gets lost in a multiplicity of challenges"
Yes, dignity did get lost in this post - Ade's. All people with disability deserve dignity and respect, "outing" Ade's personal hygiene or continence issues in such a public way as you do here is anything but. There are many heroes out there who take of the needs of their loved ones and clients in this way but who don't need to grandstand their heroic deeds just for the kudos hit.
I would have PM'd you about this but since you put it out here in public, it will get a public response.
I also didn't like the way you recently made sport of another poor soul with likely a mental health / psycho-social disability and a potentially serious DV issue. Adam St. ** - Page 4 - Airbnb Community (withairbnb.com)
Please try to be a little more sensitive to the rights of people with disability, be it physical or psycho-social mental health to be treated with respect and dignity. They are not (or should not be) sport for these pages.
I do hope you yourself are well, and trust you have accessed the many available publicly funded supports available in Aussie to assist those caring for people with disability.