In 2018 we publicly declared something we had felt for a long time—that we aspire for Airbnb to be among the first of the true 21st-century companies, one that benefits all our stakeholders over the long term. We believe that building an enduringly successful business goes hand-in-hand with making a positive contribution to society. Increasingly, that is what citizens, consumers, employees, communities, and policy-makers desire—even demand.
Serving all stakeholders is the best way to build a highly valuable business and it’s the right thing to do for society.
We see the making of a company that serves all stakeholders as a design challenge. Every design challenge has a brief. These are the core elements of our brief and the roadmap for our work:
- Identify our stakeholders.
- Establish principles and metrics for serving our stakeholders.
- Update our corporate governance and compensation.
- Report on our progress.
- Share our success.
We are early in our work. And we are far from being a perfect company, which is why we want to share what we’re doing:
1. Identify our stakeholders.
The stakeholders who make up the Airbnb community are Guests, Hosts, Communities, Shareholders, and Employees. The design challenge is to create a company that considers the needs of all stakeholders. Hosts provide Guests with unique, authentic experiences so they feel like they belong, and Communities are where our business takes place. Unique and authentic, community-based experiences inspire people to want to travel. Finally, our Employees and Shareholders help power this work and grow this incredible community.
2. Establish principles and metrics for serving our stakeholders.
Understanding the nature of these relationships, our leadership team has worked to develop a set of first principles that will guide how we grow and lead the business. These principles translate into how we aspire to behave every single day:
- We prioritize the safety of our community.
- We make guests feel like they belong.
- We enable the creation of billions of personal connections.
- We treat our hosts as partners.
- We enable the creation of millions of entrepreneurs.
- We strengthen the communities we serve.
- We diversify the types of communities guests visit.
- We set a new standard for sustainable travel.
- We will build a highly valuable business.
- We will make long-term strategic decisions.
- We champion diversity and belonging.
- We live our Core Values every day.
- We enable long-term growth and career opportunities.
These principles inspire behaviors that lead to thinking not just about near-term actions but longer-term horizons. They encourage us to think about all our stakeholders and instill accountability. And they summon our creativity.
Of course principles can be subjective, so we also developed metrics that will help us track our progress and ensure we are adhering to these principles. Below are examples of some – but not all – of the metrics we will use.
|Guests||We prioritize the safety of our community.||– Number of personal safety incidents (99.94% of trips had no reported incidents) and the rates of property damage (99.97% of trips had no Host Guarantee claim over $500)1. Tracking these incidents will help us continue to reduce the number of negative incidents.
– Percentage of stays where both hosts and guests have a verified identity (70% globally as of January 2020).
– Percentage of listings that are verified, with a goal of 100 percent verification by December 15, 2020.
|Hosts||We treat our hosts as partners.||– Survey data evaluating hosts’ satisfaction with our customer service and policies.
– Host tenure on the platform.
– Number of new hosts who have joined Airbnb.
– Host earnings over time. In Q4 2019, 53 percent of hosts earned more sharing their space than they did in the same period during the previous year.
|Communities||We set a new standard for sustainable travel.||– We are measuring the carbon footprint of both Airbnb’s corporate operations and the carbon footprint of travel facilitated by the Airbnb platform. Measuring our impact informs our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and set a new standard for sustainable travel.|
|Shareholders||We will make long-term strategic decisions.||– Financial metrics such as GAAP revenue, EBITDA and Free Cash Flow, as well as key business performance metrics such as Gross Booking Value and Nights and Seats Booked.|
|Employees||We champion diversity and belonging.||– Analysis of the gender and racial and ethnic diversity of our employees. In 2018, 48.9 percent of all Airbnb employees were women and 12.3 percent of US-based employees were underrepresented minorities. We are committed to being transparent and making our company more diverse.
– Survey data examining whether employees feel like they belong and can succeed at Airbnb.
These are just some of the metrics we will use to monitor our progress. Combined, these and other data points will help us better understand our community and whether we are meeting the standards we have set for ourselves.
3. Update our corporate governance and compensation.
A company performs based on how it’s governed. We must ensure the principles we establish and the data we gather are considered when we make decisions and create incentives for our employees. To ensure that we use this data to inform how we do business, we are taking three important steps.
First, we will be establishing an official Stakeholder Committee on Airbnb’s Board of Directors. The Committee will be chaired by Belinda Johnson after she transitions from her current role as Chief Operating Officer to become a member of the Airbnb Board. This Committee will be responsible for advising our Board regarding our multi-stakeholder approach and the impact of our company on our stakeholders, the steps to institutionalize this approach into our company’s governance, and the application of our corporate governance principles to shape the future of our company.
Second, we have created a dedicated team inside Airbnb that is leading our work to become a company that serves all stakeholders. This team is led by Joe “Joebot” Zadeh. Joe was one of the first 10 Employees at Airbnb, is a member of our executive team, and has led the development of signature products and services that have defined what Airbnb is all about, from professional photography to designing and scaling Airbnb Experiences.
Third, we are linking our adherence to our principles to goal-setting and employee compensation. Specifically, our principles and metrics are integrated into the company goal-setting process and are a central component of our company bonus program for all employees. Several metrics will be considered when we award bonuses to our Employees, including but not limited to progress on our stakeholder principles, such as our progress on guest safety.
4. Report on our progress.
We intend to share what we’re doing so we can assess our progress, adjust our course, and help others do the same. To do that, we will host a Stakeholder Day where we report on our progress, share new company updates, and offer programming designed for all of our stakeholders. We will have more details on this event in the months ahead.
5. Share our success.
We clearly see that the benefits of Airbnb should be shared with all our stakeholders. One step toward achieving this goal is the creation of a new program that will offer $100 million to local initiatives around the world over the next 10 years.
Beginning in 2020, we will award grants to support local projects in the Communities our Hosts call home. These grants will focus on projects that promote cultural heritage, economic vitality, and sustainable communities, and demonstrate clear local impact. Final award decisions will be made based on input from regional experts, Hosts, Guests, and Airbnb company leadership. More details will be released in 2020.
These grants build on a history of Airbnb’s work with local Communities. We recently held tourism summits in Cape Town, Tokyo and Catalonia and issued our Community Tourism Programme grants across Europe to encourage sustainable tourism. Our partnership with the Self Employed Women’s Association has helped disadvantaged women in rural India and our work in Italy helped highlight small villages. In the US, we have also worked with the NAACP to spread the benefits of hosting to more people in Communities of color and ensure that more people can enjoy the economic opportunities hosting affords. And our Open Homes program has helped house over 40,000 people displaced by disasters.
We know that these grants are just one small way we will share our success with stakeholders and we are excited to do more to support those who make Airbnb possible.
When we first sat down to begin this work, we knew we were undertaking a difficult and serious task. We allowed ourselves to think about problems and opportunities that will take multiple teams working over multiple years to solve. We are nowhere near finished. This is our first, simple update.
We know it will inspire questions and critiques. We hope it also will inspire new ideas. We are ready to engage in all of it and look forward to taking the next steps together.