Fostering belonging, building trust and keeping our community safe are foundational to Airbnb’s business and are the reason we’ve grown to over 7 million listings globally. Starting today, we are launching new features and policies to help our community stay safe, including new mechanisms to support hosts, guests and neighbors who have concerns about unauthorized parties or disturbances. We are also updating our Guest Refund Policy to make good on our Guest Guarantee commitment, with rebookings or full refunds in case an eligible travel issue occurs up to 24 hours after check-in.
We are expecting a record 4.5 million guest stays on New Year’s Eve in listings all around the world – that’s more than twice what we registered just three years ago. For Airbnb, this means doubling down on the hard work we do every day to help keep you safe and supported.
If you’re traveling or hosting, make sure to check out our safety recommendations for hosts and guests and catch up on our Community Standards at Airbnb.com/Trust. We also want to outline some new features that will help ensure our community and neighbors enjoy their travels and celebrations to the fullest as we welcome 2020.
In the last two years, our investments in trust and safety and consumer support have outpaced our revenue growth. Over the past few weeks, we’ve committed to dedicating an additional $150 million for new policies, protections and tools that have been recently announced.
Just this year, we added substantial new ways to ensure that we can be as responsive to our community of guests and hosts as possible. We’ve also had more than 9,000 support specialists in our network during peak season and have reorganized and refocused teams to increase the efficiency of our 24/7 operations in several hubs around the world. Our Trust operations are comprised of specialists working on risk scoring, fraud prevention and detection, and keeping payments and accounts secure.
Our policies have also recently been updated to ban “party houses” and “open invite” events and to increase enforcement against reckless behavior and nuisance from bad actors. Beginning this holiday season, we will have dozens of specially trained agents supporting this enforcement and handling rapid response in our online and telephone channels for urgent neighborhood issues. These are all components of Airbnb’s commitment to continuously innovate so that we can prevent, detect and respond to safety issues.
Some of the new initiatives and recent steps we have taken on our Trust and Safety front are:
Although the overwhelming majority of Airbnb guests are respectful travelers and issues do not arise, we want to make sure we can help resolve complaints about disturbances or nuisance in the communities our hosts call home. Today, we are launching an updated global Neighborhood Support Page at www.airbnb.com/neighbors, a feature on our website and app where neighbors and community members can submit their concerns about unauthorized parties, excessive noise, unsafe behavior, excessive trash, unallowed parking and other disturbances. We will follow up on every inquiry related to an Airbnb listing that we receive through this channel, investigate violations to our policies and take appropriate action when necessary. Our actions may include warnings, suspensions and removals from the platform, depending on the issue.
Starting this Monday in the US, we will have an additional urgent communication channel for nuisances requiring real-time support, the Neighborhood Support Line. Issues that require immediate attention can be reported by neighborhoods and communities directly through a phone call to specialized rapid-response agents. This number is also available at www.airbnb.com/neighbors and will be expanded globally throughout 2020. Emergencies and safety incidents should always be reported to local authorities, like 911 in the US, and Airbnb is also working to make that connection easier during international travel (see below).
Manual Review of High-Risk Reservations
Starting today in the US, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, we are expanding the manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our automated systems. This will help identify reservations that could potentially present issues and help stop unauthorized parties before they start. In our review, we will look at a number of factors, including the duration of the stay and listing attributes such as the size of the listing. Risk scoring helps us focus and prioritize our attention to try to find and address problems before they get off the ground. We will expand this methodology to more markets in 2020, in a continued effort to detect and impede safety issues in our community.
Beginning this weekend, on December 15th, if a guest checks into a listing that does not meet our accuracy standards, we will rebook the guest to a new listing of equal or greater value, or offer 100% of their money back. Our updated Guest Refund Policy reflects this commitment and kicks in if a guest reports a qualifying travel issue up to 24 hours after check-in. Qualifying travel issues will generally fall into the following categories:
- Host is non-committal or unresponsive. The host cancels the reservation during your trip, or they’re unresponsive or unable to resolve an issue at check-in.
- Place is not safe or clean upon arrival. The state of the space at time of check-in poses an immediate health or safety risk, requires a professional service to address the issue, or appears to have not been cleaned in between guests.
- Listing description was inaccurate. Critical features that were described to you at the time of booking are flawed or not available.
- Key amenities are missing. Amenities that were the central focus of the listing are missing, making the purpose of the stay impossible.
Claims should be made on our regular contact channel or via the Airbnb app during your check-in or as soon as you detect an issue if it comes up during your stay. Airbnb will request documentation and reasonable attempts to remedy the situation. You can find more details at: Guest Refund Policy and our Help Center article.
Airbnb launched a discount coupon program this week 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. Discounts ranged from over 45% to 100% off regular prices for the devices, with separate conditions for subscriptions. These detectors measure noise level but do not record or transmit sounds and conversations. Coupons are available to hosts for a limited time and on a first-come, first-serve basis, and deliveries are expected to begin as early as next week. 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.
Local Emergency Services Feature
A substantial portion of Airbnb reservations are for international travel, and many guests traveling to a foreign country or region may not know how best to reach local authorities in the event of an emergency. 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 initially available for residents of the US, UK, Ireland and Australia when traveling in 31 countries and regions, with plans for expanded access to additional countries and regions in the coming months. The button is accessible within the “Profile” tab, by selecting Safety Center or Get Help > Contact Us > Safety Concern.
We hope all our hosts and guests enjoy their holidays, travels and festivities. We are eager to continue sharing our sustained efforts toward keeping our community safe in 2020.