Last year, Japan legalized home sharing. The new law creates an exemption from the Japanese Hotels and Inns Act, a law that has been on the books since 1947 and had unclear and restrictive rules for home sharing. We’ve worked hard with partners across Japan to ensure that hosts now have clear rules of the road and can share their homes with travelers on Airbnb.
Unfortunately the process of complying with the new rules and registering has been difficult for our host community. We know that this is an important moment for Airbnb in Japan. Right now, many people are scrambling to get registered and need a little extra help. Others have been reluctant to share their space because the laws governing home sharing were confusing and unclear, but are considering hosting now that the new law is in place.
We are deeply thankful for all that our hosts are doing, including the steps they are taking to register. Hosts are at the heart of Airbnb and create a sense of belonging that can transform a trip into a journey. As a token of our gratitude, we’ll be offering everyone who was an active host on Airbnb in Japan as of June 1 a coupon worth $100 in the next few days that can be used for a future trip on Airbnb.
We’re committed to helping our existing hosts in Japan, and growing our community of hosts and guests. We have a comprehensive Japan 2020 Plan to achieve that goal. In the months ahead, we’ll invest more than $30 million in a wide range of strategic initiatives to support our hosts, guests, and build our community. This work includes, but is not limited to:
1. Educating and Recruiting Hosts in 60 Cities Nationwide. In the next six months, the Airbnb team will hold educational meet-ups to recruit new hosts and educate existing hosts in over 60 cities across Japan. These meet-ups will include opportunities for hosts to get personalized help registering their listing, as well as the opportunity to learn more about the benefits of hosting.
2. Reaching Out to Every Host. We’ll be continuing to personally call every host who has not registered to offer guidance and personalized support as they work to register their listing.
3. Host Support Services. Through our partnership with various specialized firms, we’ll give hosts the guidance, legal advice, and other support services they need to complete the complicated registration process and continue sharing their space with travelers.
4. Multi-Million Dollar Marketing Campaign. We’ll be launching a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to encourage more people in Japan to use Airbnb as hosts and guests. Additional details on this campaign will be released in the days ahead.
5. One-Stop Marketplace to Make Hosting Easier. Our One-Stop-Marketplace has useful services provided by our best in class network of partners. We’re dramatically expanding our network of partners who can help hosts with things like cleaning services and key exchange to ensure hosts have even more support. We’ll have more information about these partnerships in the days ahead.
6. Strategic Real-Estate Partnerships. Vacation rental properties that are reserved solely for travelers often sit vacant for weeks or months at a time. Working with a range of partners, we’ll bring these properties onto Airbnb to help ensure they are used more frequently.
7. Empty Homes Initiative. Japan has millions of empty homes that could be offering travelers from around the world unique, authentic accommodations. In the months ahead, we’ll build programs and partnerships so that these homes no longer sit empty but instead are places where our guests create memories.
8. Investing in Rural Japan. In 2017, Airbnb helped Yoshino Cedar House in Nara, which was successfully opened as the first hybrid community center/Airbnb listing. In addition to helping travelers discover an amazing community, these kinds of projects are particularly important for rural communities in Japan, which are suffering as the population in rural Japan declines. We’ve also partnered with Kamaishi City to make the city’s tourism sustainable as they rebuild after the 2011 Tsunami. We’ve learned from our experience at the Yoshino Cedar House and Kamaichi, and are eager to expand this model to new communities. Over the next five years, we’ll work to support the operation of similar community centers/Airbnb listings in 100 rural communities across Japan.
9. Airbnb Concert Series. Airbnb concerts have already proven to be popular in communities around the world, with travelers and locals alike attending small concerts in homes and other locations. In the coming months, we’ll launch over 20 free Airbnb concerts in different communities across Japan.
10. Bringing Communities Together. Partnering with our Host Clubs in four major markets – Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido – we will hold events to offer current and prospective hosts the opportunity to learn about, as well as help educate people on how to use our platform as both a traveler and a host.
There will undoubtedly be a period of adjustment as Japan implements new rules for home sharing, but we’ve never been more optimistic about Airbnb’s future in Japan. We look forward to welcoming more hosts and guests to our community.