2020 Airbnb Update

Airbnb is powered by our community. As co-founder, CEO and Head of Community Brian Chesky has said, we are committed to serving all stakeholders in the Airbnb community. Indeed, we believe that our success depends on a series of shared commitments that balance the interests of our stakeholders: 

  • At Airbnb, we know that our success depends upon making sure our Hosts are successful.
  • Hosts do well if their Guests have experiences that exceed expectations. 
  • Guests have great experiences when they feel welcomed in the communities they visit. 
  • Communities welcome Guests when the economics of travel directly benefit those who live there. 

Today, Airbnb Hosts offer millions of listings in more than 220 countries and regions and over 100,000 cities, and many of these listings are only available on Airbnb. Hosts sharing their homes have earned over $80 billion. Our Hosts have also promoted sustainable travel and helped millions of travelers feel like they can belong anywhere in the world. 

In 2019, we made significant foundational investments to grow and support our community over the next decade and beyond. These investments included improvements to our technology platform. We also invested in building out and marketing new initiatives and offerings such as Airbnb Experiences, Airbnb Luxe, Airbnb Plus, Airbnb China and hotels (including our HotelTonight acquisition). 

In 2020, we are looking forward to supporting our Hosts and helping travelers access even more amazing places to stay and things to do. This memo offers a brief update regarding our company and our community around the world. 

Holiday Update

The holiday season is always busy for Airbnb Hosts who see more demand from Guests traveling to spend time with family and explore new places. From December 24 through December 31, there were over 10.4 million Guest arrivals in Airbnb listings, up from 8.2 million Guest arrivals over the same time period one year ago. These stays took place around the world: for example, 80 percent of Guests on New Year’s Eve stayed in listings outside the US. And Guests spent New Year’s Eve in a wide range of unique Airbnb listings: over 11,000 Guests stayed in tiny houses; over 2,700 in castles; over 1,300 in treehouses; and over 1,000 in yurts.

Building Trust

We have dedicated an additional $150 million in 2020 for new policies, protections and tools that will help protect our community of Hosts and Guests around the world. Some of our work includes:

  • We are working to review and verify all listings on the Airbnb platform and have instituted the Guest Guarantee: If a Guest checks into a listing that does not meet our accuracy standards, we will help the Guest rebook a new listing of equal or greater value, or offer 100 percent of their money back.
  • We have expanded manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our automated systems in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with the goal of stopping unauthorized parties before they start. We will expand this methodology to more markets in 2020.
  • We established an additional urgent communication channel for nuisances requiring real-time support, the Neighborhood Support Line. This number is available at www.airbnb.com/neighbors starting in the US and will be expanded globally throughout 2020.
  • We launched a discount coupon program for Hosts from around the world to purchase noise detector devices to help address potential unauthorized parties and neighborhood disturbances. These devices can help detect and alert for noise issues, all while protecting Guests’ privacy. We will be working in 2020 to further explore this and other technology to support our Hosts in efforts to promote trust and safety in their spaces and neighborhoods.
  • The Airbnb app both on iOS and Android mobile phones now has an easy feature to make a direct call to local authorities in the event of an emergency. The feature is available for residents of the US, UK, Ireland and Australia when traveling in 31 countries and regions. We will expand access to additional countries and regions in the coming months.
  • As part of our ongoing commitment to work with cities around the world, we’re launching a dedicated channel where mayors and city officials can connect with appropriate Airbnb representatives about our new policies.

Between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019, 0.06 percent of trips on Airbnb had a safety-related issue reported by a Host or Guest and 0.03 percent of trips on Airbnb had a significant claim ($500 USD or higher) paid out under our Host Guarantee. We will continue sharing updates about our sustained efforts toward keeping our community safe in 2020.    

Airbnb + Real Estate

By working with real estate developers, owners, property managers, and many others, we provide online tools and offline solutions to make it easier for residents to share their homes, provide owners and operators more visibility and new revenue streams, and give guests more accommodation choices. Earlier this month we announced our agreement to work with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) to leverage the Airbnb ecosystem to help create a new pipeline of union jobs.

As we continue to expand on these efforts, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Jesse Stein as Global Head of Real Estate reporting to co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Nathan Blecharczyk. 

Jesse joins Airbnb from KHP Capital, a real estate private equity firm focused on investments in boutique and independent hotels, and has deep expertise in sourcing and executing development projects including hotel, timeshare, residential, and fractional assets. Jesse will oversee Airbnb’s strategy to create new supply and growth opportunities through real estate development projects and partnerships.

Promoting Healthy Travel

Rather than seeking to concentrate tourism in major hubs as much of the travel industry does, we aim to diversify it by more broadly distributing the economic benefits of tourism. We also aim to alleviate overtourism by distributing travelers more broadly across cities and across nontraditional travel seasons. In addition, within cities in general, the vast majority of Airbnb listings tend to be outside of traditional tourist areas, bringing valuable Guest spending to these neighborhoods. This kind of travel has a significant and positive economic impact: Airbnb’s host and Guest community generated over $100 billion in estimated direct economic impact across 30 countries in 2018 alone. Additionally, in 2018, we estimate that Guests spent $25 billion in restaurants and cafes in cities around the world.

We have also used our platform in other ways to promote sustainable travel. In 2019, we launched the Airbnb Sabbatical Program, which provides eye-opening opportunities for people around the world to travel with purpose and do good. Sabbaticals to Italy and Antarctica took place in 2019 and additional Sabbaticals will be announced in 2020.

Experiences Around the World

Airbnb offers over 40,000 Experiences around the world. Airbnb Experiences immerse travelers in local communities by offering one-of-a-kind activities that are handcrafted and led by local experts. From walking with wolves in Los Angeles to listening to live jazz in a repurposed shipping container in London, Experiences go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing Guests in each host’s unique world. 

In 2019, we launched new categories of Experiences including Airbnb Adventures, Cooking Experiences and Animal Experiences. For example, Cooking Experiences allow Guests to do anything from learning grandmas’ recipes to traditional Uzbek home-cooking, while Animal Experiences help people better understand animals through caring for them, guided by expert Hosts, and set a new standard for animal tourism. We will launch additional categories in the coming year.

Experiences have continued to grow, giving Guests more options for amazing things to do whether they are traveling or staying close to home. The number of Guests booking an Airbnb Experience from December 24 to December 31, 2019 more than doubled compared to the same timeframe in 2018.

The Olympics

In November 2019, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Airbnb announced an agreement to support the Olympic Movement through to 2028. In 2020, we will support the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo and launch Airbnb Olympian Experiences, which will include everything from the chance to train with an Olympian, to exploring a city with an elite athlete. We expect that this partnership will generate hundreds of thousands of new Hosts over nine years, giving community residents the opportunity to earn extra income by providing accommodation and local experiences to visiting fans, athletes and other members of the Olympic Movement.

Our partnership with the International Olympic Committee is part of our evolution from a travel industry disruptor into a leader. We look forward to continuing to work with the IOC and others to promote healthy, sustainable travel that empowers local communities.

Working with Cities

For years, Airbnb has worked with cities to support common-sense short-term rental regulations and collect and remit taxes. To date, we have reached a landmark cumulative $2 billion in tourist-related taxes that have been collected and remitted to local governments on behalf of our global host community over the past four years. Over 400 agreements with local, state, territorial and national governments around the world have streamlined and facilitated tax collection for hosts, most of whom are sharing their homes for extra income and may not be equipped for complex accounting processes. Voluntary Tax Collection agreements are in place in jurisdictions in the US, Canada, Latin America and Europe. For example, Airbnb remitted €58 million in tourist tax to French cities in 2019, more than twice the amount collected and remitted to French cities in 2018 (€24 million). 

Tax collection is just one way we work with communities. In 2016, we partnered with Chicago to create a product solution enabling Hosts to register with the city through our platform. To make this system work, we counseled city officials as they built an extensive system to meet their specific needs. We later implemented similar tools in San Francisco and New Orleans, among other cities. And in 2019, we began offering similar support to cities from Seattle to Hamburg.

This solution isn’t right for every city, which is why we’ve worked with other communities to support efforts that fit the needs of their communities. For example, in Buffalo, NY, the second most popular destination for Airbnb Guests in New York State — we have worked with city officials and our local host community for the last three years to craft new, fair short-term rental regulations that allow any city resident to share their home to make extra income, with some restrictions on rentals that are not the Host’s primary residence, while establishing a host registration system and reasonable licensing fee structure. More than 5,500 miles away, in Buenos Aires, city officials passed a new short-term rental law this November creating a free, online registry for Hosts, setting basic safety standards and establishing a positive precedent for inclusive regulation of short-term rentals across South America. 

Click here to learn more about our work with different communities around the world.

Through our work with cities, we have learned that Hosts can share their space and Guests can have accommodation options even when regulations are put in place. In both San Francisco and Japan, the resolution of several years of debate brought about new rules and regulations, and after a temporary period of adjustment, our community in both cities has continued to expand. In Tokyo, the number of New Year’s Eve Guests increased 63 percent, year-over-year. 

Finally, the end of 2019 also brought a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union, which found that that Airbnb should be regulated as an information society service and that a piece of 1970s-era French real estate law should not be applied to our platform. We welcomed this ruling and issued a letter to Mayors across Europe underscoring our commitment to work with them on innovative solutions to the challenges facing cities, while working together to generate new revenue streams for local families, businesses and communities. 

Serving all Stakeholders

We are committed to building a 21st-Century Company that serves all our stakeholders in the Airbnb community: Hosts, Guests, Communities, Employees and Shareholders. We have long recognized that our success depends on a series of shared commitments between everyone in our community. Last week, we announced more details regarding this work and we will have additional updates in the months ahead.