October 2018 | Host Q&A | Airbnb

By | November 19, 2019


First of all, I’m Brian Chesky, CEO and Head of Community. I made sure to add Head of Community to my title because we are much more than just a business. First and foremost, if you ask our guests what we are, they would say after they meet our host that we are a community. A community of people. Every quarter, I speak to the host community, and this community is so incredibly important to me, and I want to share just a couple of things about the community and what we’re doing together. You know recently I’ve stayed in quite a few Airbnbs. Quite a few of you, I’ve stayed with, different host. I’ve stayed with them in Paris. I was in Paris. I was in Dublin, a few other locations, and I was reflecting on when my experiences are really great, and what makes those experiences really wonderful. And it starts by having a host that I think really deeply cares about their guest, a deep care. And I think you get a real sense when a host deeply cares about you. They want to learn about you. They want to customize the experience. When I walk into the door, there’s often a handwritten card if they don’t meet me. Sometimes they’re there with me to tour me around the home. There’s often something personalized and left for me on the front table written specifically to me. And I really love when I stay on a home and it’s got the host’s sense of personality in that home. You get the sense of the artwork, the character, the life they lived, and there’s a sense of a local experience, a sense of place. That if I’m in Paris and I stay in a home there, I feel like I’m in Paris, and that room is unlike any in the world. And so what this really means is that what makes a host so great, the sense that makes me feel like I belong in that community is a sense that what you’re offering me is a local experience, and you’re offering your deeply personal hospitality. And one of the things we’re trying to do is make sure that we celebrate. When all of you offer that, we want to offer more tools and experiences for our hosts so they can provide a more deep and local experience. And we want to continue to invest in new types of offerings so guests can discover our very best hosts. We’ve been investing quite a lot in the Superhost. We have a number of other things coming up. But all of this comes back to an even larger point which is, we announced an initiative earlier this year called Airbnb for everyone. And it’s the idea that Airbnb as mainstream as an idea. Everyone knows what it is, but not everyone feels like it’s for them. And we have a mission that we believe everyone should be able to belong in communities when they travel, and so everyone should be able to use us. And so partly, that means we’re going to have a variety of host and types of people offering experiences in our community, but many of the people tuning in to this are many of our core hosts. Core hosts are regular people, not businesses, so to speak, that are offering the homes they live in. And they’re either sharing their home when they’re there or when they’re not there. That is the majority of our community. Many of the experiences I just cited were from these core hosts. Hosts that are the core of our community. And I’ve been getting questions a lot lately about are we moving away from our core host, or are we still invested in them. And I can tell you that we always have been and always will be invested in our core host community. That this is the thing that is most different about Airbnb’s community are you, our core members of our host. It doesn’t mean that we, therefore, don’t care about other types of host, but the core host is really, really important to us. And to that point, you’re going to hear a little bit later today, one of our new leaders, Laura Chambers. She is excellent, and she is leading our core host community. But I want you to know the most important thing here is that when we started this company 10 years ago, all of my experiences were with core host, and this is extremely important, and we’re going to be investing a lot in this community. So I want you to hear that directly from me. I’m really excited about where we’re going in 2019. And we want to continue to invest in tools to make it easier for you to continue to be a host, and to make sure that the very best of our community continue to get highlighted. So with that, I would love to bring up our host moderator. His name is Lee Thomas, he’s from Queens, New York. Come up, Lee. [applause] How you doing? Fantastic. So you are from– I’m going to hand it over to you in a second. Before I do that, you are from Queens? Queens, New York. Yes. Queens, New York. And how long have you been hosting? About eight years. Eight years. And why did you start hosting? Well, I worked in the World Trade Center. I worked in finance and after the terrorist attack, unfortunately, I came down with cancer. I got sick. So in preparing myself for the worst, I thought that my guest apartment that I use with family and friends that I will put on the Airbnb platform and start hosting. And thank God, I went into remission. Things got better, but I kept hosting because I met some incredible people from all over the world. I had some really fantastic experiences with people, and I really enjoy. I enjoy showing people my neighborhood, my city, sharing what New York has to offer, and it’s just been an amazing road. Well, thank you so much, Lee, for being a Superhost, The leader of the Queens Home Sharing club to putting an incredible first impression to the people who visit New York. I think this is one of the best ways to experience the local community. And I just want to thank you for sharing your incredibly personal and powerful story. Thank you so much. Thank you, Brian. I want to hand it over to you now. Ladies and gentlemen, Lee. Thank you, everyone. [applause] Thank you. [music] [applause] We want to welcome everyone back to this great event. We want everyone to know that this is our opportunity as host to ask the team some pointed questions and to really get to understand what they’re doing to help support host. We are really excited because we have a new member of the Airbnb team. Let me introduce to you, Laura Chambers. Give her a hand. [applause] She’s a new part of the team, but I think she’s going to be a very valuable part of the team. So it’s lovely to meet you all. As Lee said, my name is Laura Chambers. I joined Airbnb, oh gosh, less than two months ago, and I’m in a newly created role, which is to focus on core hosts. So I may be a little bias, but I think I have the best job in the world. I get to work with all of you guys. I get to hear what you’re excited about, and I get to represent you and support you to help you all be really successful. So I’ve also– I mean, I should say I’ve been on Airbnb for a really long time as a guest. I have three small children, and Airbnb has opened up so many opportunities for us to travel. There are so many trips we’ve done, and so many adventures we’ve had in so many great ways that I just don’t think we would have done any other way. So I feel very lucky for that. And hosting is in my blood. So my mom has hosted in Daylesford, Australia, in this very small dairy shed, I think since the day that Airbnb opened in Australia. My uncle is a Superhost in Phillip Island, Australia, and if you ever want to see fairy penguins on parade, go stay with my uncle; he would be delighted to see you. I can hook you up if you want to go travel in Australia. Oh, definitely, definitely, definitely. Just so you understand now, the questions that we’ll be asking today have been derived from questions that came from hosts from all over. We received about 6,000 questions, 35,000 votes. The team here went through each and every question and selected those questions that we thought would be relevant to us to know something about immediately. My first question to you is, what is Airbnb doing to better support hosts if things go wrong? If things go wrong. Wow, what a good question. So in my point of view, I think trust is the most important part of a marketplace, particularly when it’s something so important and personal as a home, right? It’s incredibly important. And I see the role that Airbnb has in the world of trust in two ways. First, we need to work really hard to minimize the instances of things going wrong. And then in the rare occasion that something does go wrong, we have to be there for our guests and our hosts in that moment. So the good news is, on the first instance, it’s incredibly rare for something to go wrong. I think the stat is 0.004% of the time there’s a serious incident, so it’s very rare. I wish it was lower. We’re constantly working for it to get lower, but it is a very rare occasion. Now, if and when it does go wrong, the good news is we’ve put some really strong programs in place for our host to support them. So I’m sure you’re all familiar with things like security deposit and the million-dollar Host Guarantee. So those are great, but what we’ve heard from our hosts also is that it’s not enough to just have the programs there. They need to be pretty accessible. They need to be reliable. You need to be able to get your money pretty quickly. And so we are working on a number of things and, in fact, I’m happy to announce today, we’ve just recently launched several things to make that process and the access easier. Do you want to hear about them? Sure. All right. Cool. Absolutely. So the first thing we’ve done is we heard from the hosts they needed a bit more time to apply. So it used to be that you would have to apply for a claim within 72 hours or before the next guest hosting, whichever is soonest. We’ve just extended that to 14 days of [crosstalk]. Oh great. Great, great, great. You have more time. [applause] Absolutely. Yeah. So the second thing we heard was just the paperwork. Sometimes the paperwork seemed unreasonable, the things we were asking for, so we’ve actually reduced quite a lot of the documentation requirements if you have a claim. So, for example, there’s no longer a blanket requirement for original receipts. So there’s a number of changes we’ve done there to do that, so that’s live as well. And then the final thing was just around time. So we heard from you all that these processes just took too long. You didn’t get your money quickly enough. It just took a really long time. So we’ve invested in customer support and the processors for our customer support teams. And so since this has rolled out, it’s taken 20% less time for claims to get processed for hosts. So hopefully you guys see that that’s helpful, and it’s a start. There’s lots more we wanted to do, but keep sending us feedback about what’s important to you on those programs, and we’ll work on them. And you did that in less than two months. Oh, It was all me. Clearly, yes [laughter]. No, the team’s been working on it for a while, yes. Great. What are we doing to make sure that hosts know the procedure of how to follow through on a claim and what have you? Yeah. Yeah, that’s such a– one of my observations, a lot of what I’ve been doing over the last couple of months is living the host world, right? So researching information as I would as a host. I’m listing things. I’ve listed a boat that we own, so that I can be a host as well. One of the things I’ve noticed is that it’s kind of hard to find information about things. And so a big investment that we are making is just making it much, much easier for host to access information. To find it, to make sure the information we have is easy to find, really relevant, really clear, really concise. And so you will see a lot of changes in that world over the next little while. Great. That’s exciting. Yeah. That’s exciting. I’m the head of the Queens Host Club. Yes, I’ve heard. And we meet once a month. It’s a great thing to be able to share with other hosts so that they can become better hosts and even achieve Superhost status. And there’s one question that just keeps coming up every meeting, every time we get together, whether it’s a social or formal meeting, and I’m not able to answer the question. So I’m glad I’m here with you. Let’s see if I can. Great. Okay. I’m sure that every host, every Superhost out there can identify with this. Can Airbnb protect hosts from the ‘one-offs’ of bad reviews? Good question, right? Gosh, I have spent a lot of time in my life thinking about reviews. A tremendous amount of time, and here’s the reality. So on Airbnb, reviews are incredibly important, right? As a host, it’s your way of showing what a great host you are, right? It’s how you get the recognition for the tremendous service that you provide for your guests. And as a guest, it’s also really important, right? So it’s a way that a guest can have confidence to make a booking that they might not always do. So reviews are really important. However, they are really flawed. So review is, it’s really subjective, and sometimes it can be over something that you don’t have control of as a host. So this is kind of natural tension that happens with all review systems for all marketplaces all over the world. That’s where we’re at. Given that circumstance, there’s a lot you can do to make reviews better particularly for hosts. And there are things that we are doing and we will do that are small changes, and there are things that are probably bigger changes. I’ll give you a couple of examples of both. Before I do that, so how many of you have had one of these problems? Like an outlier review or a bad problem? So a few of you, yeah. So it does happen quite a bit. I had a guest who was very nice, came to New York in the wintertime, and refused to give me five stars because it snowed too much. [laughter]. Yeah. Does that sound familiar to anyone? [laughter]. Maybe. All right. Well, actually let me talk about that one first particularly because this is kind of what we call the location review situation. So the reality is location is super subjective, right? Say you have a lovely house in the countryside. The reality is that one person’s rural, rustic, romantic retreat is someone else’s very poor access to public transport, right? Those are both true. And one person may give you a five star on location; one person may give you a one star. But I think it’s pretty hard as a host to change your location. A good analogy is in retail, right? If you’re shopping on somewhere like Amazon, you look at a review for the product, right? Is this Apple Watch a five star product or not? And then you look at a review for the seller, right? And those two are very different things. Similarly, if I was visiting you in New York, it may be a review for New York. Maybe New York is five stars, but maybe you as a host are also five stars, and isn’t that amazing? I think that’s the fundamental issue, right, that I’ve heard from hosts is that it’s just a little bit difficult to distill those two, and it doesn’t seem fair to be assessed on location. So I don’t have an answer on this yet. I’m super aware of it, and we’re looking at what to do, but please send me feedback. I’d love to hear ideas from you guys. It’s obviously a hard problem to solve. I’ve got a few ideas, but nothing to announce just yet. There’s one in there– so that’s a big thing to try and figure out how to change. There is a smaller change to reviews that we’re actually working on right now that will be live soon. And this is for that scenario, and this may have happened to some of you where a guest comes. It’s been a tremendous day. They’ve had a wonderful time. They leave their reviews, and they’ve left a five star for every single one of the subcategories like cleanliness and all that type of stuff. And then they leave a two-star overall, and the reality is they’ve probably just pressed the wrong button, right? Of course. Right? It can happen [laughter]. We can all press the wrong button sometimes. What we’re going to do– this does happen, right, so we’re going to pop a little flag to the guest when they do that, and just say, “Are you sure that you meant to leave a two? Because it seems like you might have wanted to leave a better review,” just to give them a chance to change it. So that’s one very– it’s just a small thing, but I think it will be live soon. You guys will see that soon. And we’re going to do more and more of these changes because reviews are important, and they’re really challenging. But there’s a lot we can do to help hosts. So let us know what your priorities are to fix the review system, and we will work on them. What can I do to get more bookings? And I really need to emphasize that one of the biggest concerns in our host meetings when we have new hosts coming on, they have no reviews. They don’t really know how to set up their profile. They come in with a million and one questions and pretty much they want to know what is it that I can do to start getting those bookings in right away? So– we want to ask the expert. Great. What a great question. So it may surprise you to know we think about this a lot, right? We do a lot of research and a lot of analysis. We ask guests what they care about, and we also look at their behaviors to see what they really do. And it turns out that there are three things that really, really matter for a guest when they’re looking at a listing. Three things that really matter to them that are super important. What do you guys all think they are? Throw out some ideas. Pictures. Pictures. What else? Cleanliness. Cleanliness. Not one of the top three. Price. Great. Price. What else? Location. Location is very important. Not one of the top three. Keep going. Amenities. Reviews. Reviews. Quality. Yes. So the top three things that a guest looks up when they look at your listing in this order are, what’s the price? What’s the review? Like what we think the quality is going to be like. and how good are the photos? What does this place look like? Let’s talk about photos. So, photos. I’m going to put some stats up here that we’ve done a lot of analysis on this. Photos have a huge impact on the likelihood of your place being booked. So if you have poor photos, booked less. If you have great photos, booked significantly more. All the data shows this. And, also, it’s how guests think about it. 60% of the time, the first thing that a guest does is click on a photo. So if you do one thing at the end of this session– don’t go right now, just stay with us till the end. If you do one thing, look at the photos on your listing and give yourself an honest assessment about whether you think you can improve them. I would say some of you will think you can. So I’m going to give some tips and tools about what to do with that new insight on your listing. So first thing, we have released a blog recently. I was just looking at it earlier today. It’s pretty cool. You can go to this blog, and it will give you a lot of really practical tips about how to take a good photo with just a basic iPhone or a camera. This is a really, really good place to start. So go here. Look at the tips. It will give you some great ideas about how to take good photos. Now, maybe that you don’t have a phone or a camera. It happens. Or maybe that you do and you’re just an absolutely terrible photographer. That also happens. We are all good at different things. If that’s the case, we actually have a great service that we connect hosts to. So we’ve found some really brilliant professional photographers around the world, and if you go to this website here, airbnb.com/professional_photography you will be able to meet up and connect with some professional photographers in your area. These guys are incredibly reasonably priced. They’ll come to your house. And here’s the good news, we are so confident because we’ve seen it happen that as you get professional photography, you will get more bookings. We won’t even charge you for it until you get your bookings. We’ll deduct it out of the future bookings. So this is a really, totally low– Oh. Give her a hand. That’s great. That’s great. [applause] And I’ve been looking into this program a lot. I’m super curious about it, and I’ve just seen the stats of when people get professional photography, the amount of lift that it gets to their bookings is amazing. We’re not everywhere in the world. We’re in most markets but go here, and if there’s someone in your market, then we will hook you up. The third thing. So you’ve got your great listing. You’ve got the really good price. You’ve got great reviews. You’ve got these lovely photos now. The last thing I’d recommend is captions. Captions for your photos are a great way to help your guests imagine them in the space. So instead of just having a photo with a bed, describe how comfortable it is. Or instead of just having a photo of a hallway, talk about how when you walk down that hallway, you go to the outside where there’s a beautiful view and a grill next to a patio by the pool. Just bring it to life with your words, and those captions make a tremendous impact in guest impressions. So those are just a few hot tips for you guys to help improve your listing and get more bookings. That is really great. Doing the Airbnb open in Paris, I had the privilege of doing a seminar, and it was entitled making your home share your small business, and we like to think of people that do home share as a small business. You have to work at it. And one of the things we emphasize is to pay attention to the introduction you give to your potential guest because the first thing that people see is your profile, and the first thing people see is your pictures. So we tell people that if you’re going to take a picture of your kitchen, your kitchen should be nice and neat and not take a picture after the family had the family meal. No dirty dishes. Got it. Good tip. And if you’re taking a picture of the bedroom, it’d be nice if you make the bed. Those kind of things. So that is the first thing that people see when they go to the platform. So I’m really happy that you have come onboard to formalize that, to really help get that message out to our host, so we can be better host. Yeah. Well, my job is to make all of you guys successful. That is my entire focus. It’s what I wake up every day doing, so. And like I said, I think I have the best job in the whole world. I think you do, and you do realize now that you’re here, you’re never going anywhere. No, of course. I’m here to stay. Give her a hand.Thank you, everyone. [applause] We’re going to take a short break right now, and we’ll be back. Don’t go away. [music] I’m happy today to introduce two members of the team, Carla and Ethan. Give them a hand. Yeah. So, hi, I’m Ethan Eismann. I’m head of the guest team. It’s the team that works with guests at Airbnb, as well as the design team for our home’s organization. So I kind of have two roles. Hi, everybody, I’m Carla. I have been at Airbnb for almost four years, and I lead the team called the market dynamics team. All right. Give them both a big hand. [applause] So are you guys ready? We’re ready. Yeah. All right. So my question to you, Ethan – I’ll start off with you. Can I get more information about potential guests? Great question. So before answering that question, I’ll start off with a story. So I’m obviously an avid Airbnb user, and I also have two small kids. And, recently, I took a trip, and we found this really beautiful modern cabin. It was just built. It was hosted by a woman named Shevy. And I contacted Shevy and said my family and my kids are coming up there. And she wrote back and said, “Hey, this is a new cabin. We just built it. I love this place. Here’s some things that are important for you to know and just tell me a little bit about what you’re doing in Guerneville and about your family.” So I gave her some information about my kids. Obviously, they’re wonderfully well-behaved children [laughter], very responsible kids. And she gave me some information about Guerneville, places for us to eat, and I just really appreciate that sort of back and forth. We exchanged a lot of information in our messages, and I felt really great that she felt comfortable hosting us. And so at Airbnb, I think we have the same level of care and value when it comes to making sure that our hosts have the right information that they need to be comfortable. And so our goal is to make sure they’ve got the right tools and support and information to attain that level of comfort. But we also think about our guests. It’s two sides of our community. And so we know that our guests really care about being able to get through their booking flow quickly. So we don’t want to ask them so much information that they don’t actually book. That’s not great for hosts. We want to make sure our guests can actually book. And there’s other information, too, that our guests might want to keep private, so like their home address. So that’s a piece of information we wouldn’t share with our hosts because it’s private information for our guests. And I’ll soon walk you through every sort of bit of information provide before you accept a guest booking and then after. But before getting into that, there’s a few other things that we’ve heard from hosts that they’d like to know about other guests as well. So one is, with a multiparty group, hosts like to know whether they can see the name and ages of every person in that party. And for now, we’re not providing that information because we want to make sure, again, that guests have a streamlined booking process, and it’s just a lot of information for them to have to provide. But we do require them to provide the number of guests. So that’s just some additional information. So in terms of the actual information that you can get before accepting a booking, it really comes down to the guest Airbnb profile information, their first name, the number of people in the group, a personal message from the guest, and then you can always message with your guest and learn about their purpose of travel, the check in and check out time, and that kind of information. And then post booking, we give you the guest’s last name, so that’s an additional piece of information. And then just to round this all off, trust is a really important part of our community, and so we do make it available to hosts to require guests to provide a verified ID. We ask guests to provide a government-issued ID, and we match that against the photo, and we get this additional level of verification. And we’re always doing things like that to increase the level of trust within the community because, ultimately, our goal is to make sure that hosts are as comfortable as possible when you’re hosting guests. Great. Thank you. And you’re going to be continually to retweak as you go along to try to make that process as seamless– That’s right. Yeah. There’s a lot of things that we’re working on to try to make that as streamlined as possible, that verification process. Great. Thank you. Thank you for that. Yeah. Absolutely. My next question. Can Airbnb provide more data so we can set more informed pricings ourselves? Carla? So I have been working on pricing for over three years now, and some of the most consistent feedback that we’ve heard from you, as host, is that you want to hear and see more data behind the price tips that we’re putting in front of you. You want to know the reason for those price suggestions. And in the last Q&A, we mentioned that we’re going to be working on features that are going to surface more of this kind of information, more of the relevant information that goes into those price suggestions, and I’m happy to say that we’ve already started to roll out some of these features. And so now, when you go to your calendar, you can actually see what we’re calling market trends. And this is information that is responsible for why price tips either go up or down. And so to access this information, you can simply click on any calendar square. The data isn’t available for every date yet, and we’re working on making it available for more dates. But when you click on an individual calendar square, you’re going to see the most important factors that go into a price suggestion for that night. So this includes the number of guests who are searching for a listing like yours or a listing in your market, the relevant demand for you. You’re also going to see the number of listings that are still available for that night. This is an indication of what additional choices guests have in your market. You’re also going to see the median booked price in your market for that night. And the last thing that you’re going to see is, you’re going to see the percentage of guests whom we expect to book for that night, what percent of them have actually already booked. So you kind of have an understanding of urgency and how much time you have left to get booked for that night. So, again, these are the most relevant factors that go into the price tips. So now we’re exposing them to you directly so that you can use them to come up with your own algorithm for how you want to price each night with confidence. Great. Now how long would it be before we see that? This is actually already out and available. If you’re not seeing it, it might be because we just don’t have a strong enough signal in your market to be able to expose individual factors. Great. That’s great. Okay. As you know, I’m from New York City. I live and host in Queens, New York. 8.5 million people in New York City. A lot of people in New York City. And Airbnb and places to stay are in high demand in New York City. So my question is, can Airbnb stop telling me to lower my price? [laughter]. Carla? Okay. Let’s talk about price suggestion. So this is another question that we’ve heard. And I want to start off by saying that nobody understands the value of your listing the way that you do, and the value of the home and also the hospitality that you provide. And it’s our intention that you always remain in control of your price, and that you feel a responsibility for setting the right prices for your listing and for your goals. And, at the same time, we feel like it’s our responsibility to provide you with the data that is going to help you figure out the right price for each night so that you’re achieving whatever goals you’ve set out for yourself as a host. So, to this end, we often put pricing information in front of you. We tell you what the prevailing demand is in your market, or we might make specific price recommendations. And I want to underscore that even when we put a specific price in front of you, this is not a judgement as to what we believe your hospitality and your home are worth. It’s not an indication that this is how you should be pricing that night. We believe that we’re just putting information in front of you that you can use to determine the right price for your listing. So some hosts have told us that they really appreciate this information, and they love this information, and other hosts have told us it’s not so useful. So one of the things that we’ve actually started rolling out in the last couple of months is we now include feedback links at the end of every pricing email that we send you. And you can tell us, for each email we send, whether or not this information was useful to you. And we’ve started refining and changing the information that we are sending to you based on the feedback that you’re providing. So our goal is to make sure that, going forward, the information that lands in your inbox is increasingly more relevant to you. And to do that, we hope that you’ll continue to provide feedback so that we can make sure that we are learning as we go. I’m so glad you made that clear. We want to thank both of you for working so hard and really supporting the host community, try to help us better ourselves when we come to being host and serving our guests. And we want to thank Airbnb for allowing you to share with us on a forum like this because it’s important that we get information to as many hosts as possible so they can be better hosts. So I really appreciate it. I thank you for that. Give them a hand. [applause] Now, we have a special treat for you. Well, Brian Chesky visited Dublin which we have a large Airbnb hub there. And they’ve decided to take out the cameras and do a video. We want you to sit back, relax, and look at what the folks are doing in Dublin. [music] Hey everyone. I’m here at our Dublin office. Now, this is one of our hubs for Airbnb customer service or community support as we call it. Now, we call it community support because this is a team that’s truly focused on making sure your experience with Airbnb is really great. Hosts have been asking for more updates about community support. So we have here Aisling Hassell, and she’s our head of community support operations. Community support is something that is super near and dear to my heart and Joe’s heart because fun fact, Joe and I were the first people that were doing community support. We used to come to our cell phones, and we would answer calls all hours of the day. And now I’m proud to say that we have more than 8,000 people supporting you. They’re much more professional than we were. They’re in dozens of languages and 22 offices all around the world. And here are just a few of them. [music] So welcome, Aisling. It’s great to have you here. Maybe tell us a little about yourself. Yeah, sure. Well, great to have you here in Dublin. which is the center of the universe as you know. I’m based here. For those of you in the host community that aren’t aware, I head of community support operations, the organization that thankfully has taken the job of answering all your questions from Brian and Joe. And we are based here, but we’re also in 15 countries around the world. And we do that so that we can be there for you in your time of need, in the language of your preference. And so it’s been quite the ride since I joined – what is it – four and a half years ago, Brian? And we’ve scaled a lot thanks to a very large investment that the founders made in our community support model last year. And I think it’s been a wild ride, but we’re on the right tracks. So one of the questions we get asked a lot is, can we make it easier to contact Airbnb customer service? What are we doing to make it easier for our community to reach us? Yeah. I mean, it has been a struggle as you know because we were playing catch up with the tremendous growth in the community across the globe. I’m delighted to say, as I said, with the investment that we’ve made, we are there now in 15 countries and really there in the time of need. So we’ve made a lot of efforts to make sure that you can find the contact channel of your choice for our community. And so, today, you’ll see a much more streamlined help flow when you go into our product. So if you click on help and go through the flow, you can see some of the screens here. Have you seen the screens lately, Brian? I have not. Because I think they’ve changed really recently– Well, I haven’t had a problem with the reservation recently, so. Oh, well that’s good. That’s what we like to hear. But if you had, you would’ve seen a much more smooth flow. And so when you click on help now, we do try and triage and find out what the problem is because that actually helps us to make sure that you get through to the right person. And so there are some questions we ask you and then we offer you, as I say, multiple contact channels. We started, if you remember, on email, but a fantastic thing now that we’ve got phone, messaging, and we’ve got chat in Pilot, so, it’s gone a long way, and I think we are much more accessible now which is great. And the other thing we’re trying to do is when you do get through to us, we’re trying to make it a much simpler process, so, one of the things we also do is take the fact that you’ve been on our product and on the app or in the website, and we use that to authentic you so that we know who you are when you call us, and that just makes it much faster for us to help you. Great. So we’ve made it, obviously, easier to reach us, but the question I’m sure people are asking is, “Great. Well, if I reach you, are you actually going to pick up in time and be able to help me?” So, maybe, what are we doing there? Yeah. No. It’s right. And that’s always been the balancing act that we’ve had to do which is, “Can we make sure that we have enough people at the end of that channel when you do get through to us?” And so that’s part of the scaling we’ve been doing. And I’m delighted to say, as you said, our team has actually traveled, I think, in the last couple of years. And so we’ve been really doubling down on smooth processes, the right people, great talent at the end of that phone call or at the end of that chat or the end of that message, to be able to help you with what you have a problem with. And so we’ve really invested in a lot of training. We have invested in a lot of tooling and, as I say, it’s all about that great person you’re going to get in touch with at the end of the day. And I’m delighted to say we’ve just gone through our peak, which is basically the six weeks over summer where it gets pretty insane in my job. And I’m delighted to say that this year, we actually answered over 80% of our calls under a minute. And I know that’s important to you, Brian, because you do send me emails on a regular basis. Well, it’s very important that we are there for our community, and we’re extremely responsive. So that’s a huge amount of progress. And, obviously, we’re going to keep going. We’re going to keep improving. Yeah. And it’s not just phone. We talk a lot about phone, as you know, but one of the things we want to do is be there in different channels. So we home built our own messaging platform which is hugely exciting because it’s actually inbuilt into the app and into the message stream. And so that’s another really seamless way for our community to get in touch with us. And many of our hosts are taking advantage of that already. Actually, I think it’s almost about 30% is already going through that channel which is really great progress. Yeah. It’s incredible. I mean, it’s such an easy way to contact somebody. We’re used to messaging to be able to have our help, and to make that really real time from a phone, from your laptop, it’s probably my preferred way to contact us. Great, so what else is new with Airbnb with community support? Any other updates or things on your mind? Yeah, well, we’re actually focusing, aside from being able to get in touch with us and find our number and then being there when you do contact us, we’re actually just trying to redesign our service experience. And one area that we’re doubling down on is the property claims experience, so, I know many of you hosts out there have had painful experiences if you’ve been trying to submit claims, and there has been honestly more friction there than we would like. So we’re making it much easier for our hosts to submit a claim. And you can see some of the screens here, which is really quite exciting to see. And what we’ve done is streamlined the flow and actually asked you yet again a few more questions upfront because that enables us to make sure we can send it to the right person. And I think I’m really hopeful all of our hosts– again, these incidents are very rare, but we do know that they’re a very stressful time for our host community, and we really do want to take away some of that stress and make it really, really simple for our community if they have a need to file a claim to do so. So it’s exciting. And, hopefully, do let me know, hosts, if it’s working as you would like. I’m always open to lots of feedback. But we’re not stopping there because claims is only one scenario. One of the things we’re doing, we kicked off a design program earlier this summer, and we’ve assembled a team of 73 people around the company who are experts on all the aspects of a host journey. And we’re doubling down on redesigning our service experience from beginning to end. So we are going to have a much more seamless experience in the future It’s going to take us a few months to build, and you’ll see progressing. So don’t expect it next week, Brian, please. But we are really excited about where we’re going with this because it’s going to take– it’s really an opportunity to design from the ground up. And we had our host in San Francisco to help us codesign it. So I know that the community voice is there, and I’m really excited for them to see it and really see how service from Airbnb is going to really get into world-class as you’ve tested me to become. Yeah. And so is there anything else on your mind about community support and where you want this to go? Yeah. Well, you always set a high bar. You say that all the time. Yeah. I always want us to exceed the expectations of our community. And I think they rightly have their high expectations of us. No, I agree. And I don’t think we’ve always lived up to those in full disclosure, and I know we’ve heard from our host community that we could do better. And so I just want to say, first of all, to be honest, a thank you to our host community for your patience. We have been on a growth trajectory like yourselves, and we are really doubling down on making sure that your support experience is the best it could possibly be. And so thank you for your patience. Lots more exciting things to come. I’m super excited about the future, and I would just say, as I said already, always open to feedback. Do go into airbnb.com/feedback. Anything that you say there about service will get to me. And we are absolutely listening, and we are absolutely committed to getting better. And aside from the service redesign, we’re also have heard from our community that they really want to talk to somebody in their local language. And as I said, we are in 15 countries for that reason. We heard loudly from our French host that they wanted to speak to people in France. And so we’ve set up a new French site just this year, and I hope that you are seeing the difference there. And, again, we always are focused on making sure that you can talk to somebody in the language of your preference, and somebody that can solve your issues, so we keep evolving, and we keep making sure that we’re meeting our communities’ needs. So great. Well, thank you, Aisling, for talking to our host community about all the great things we’re doing in community support. I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of days I’ve been here in Dublin. The team here is nearly 500 people. The work they do is just incredible. Thank you for helping us support so many members of our community. You’re welcome. And thanks to all our community for being such great hosts. Great. Well, thank you, Aisling. [applause] I think we had a lot of fun. Thank you for allowing me to be your host tonight. [applause] [music]

18 thoughts on “October 2018 | Host Q&A | Airbnb

  1. Charlotte Laws Post author

    When are you going to add a search filter for "tennis court"? You have it for all sorts of things, such as iron and gym, but not a tennis court? Why not? I'd like to find them when I travel. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Pedro Tavares Post author

    Here's my attempt at some bullet points on this:

    1. Changes to Damage/Security Claims
    * Time to submit a security claim moved to 14 days from 72 hours
    * Reduced documentation requirement for claims
    * Customer support increased so claim time reduced by 20%

    2. One-Off Bad Reviews
    * Location is too subjective/Looking into whether or not it's fair to be assessed on location
    * Guests will now be alerted when they leave 5 star reviews in all categories but a lesser overall star rating

    3. How Can We Get More Bookings?
    * Guests look at Reviews, Price, Photos in order of importance
    * Photos are the most important factor
    * Captions make a large impact

    4. Can we get more information about potential guests
    * Feel free to ask
    * Name and ages of all guests in party doesn't sound like it's going to be added. AirBnB is looking for a streamlined booking process

    5. Can AirBnB provide more data to help us guide process
    * Features are rolling out that will provide more information on market trends
    * Individual calendar squares now show relevant market data including:
    Number of guests searching
    Number of nights already booked in your market
    What percentage of guests are expected to book that night
    What percentage of guests have already booked
    Already rolled out in some markets

    6. Can AirBnB stop telling me to lower my price?
    * There are now feedback links at the end of pricing suggestion emails.

    7. Can AirBnB make it easier to contact customer service?
    * Help menu is now much more streamlined
    * Menus direct you to multiple contact channels
    * Customer service teams are scaling up
    * Summer season had 80% of all calls answered in under a minute
    * New Instant Messaging/Chat support now live

    Reply
  3. Susan Moray Post author

    When will Airbnb provide addresses so cities can double check that, where they are required, that permits are in place? Cities are struggling with affordable rentals and illegal listings are exacerbating this problem. Be good corporate citizens!

    Reply
  4. pat vaughn Post author

    why does'nt this theif have home -verification?? why not eliminate the illegal postings? he is greedy and will ruin his company! By the way-what is Airbnb going to do when the CREDIT CARD COMPANIES refuse his company?? Its is coming!! I voted on it with 90 other banks across north america…you are going down!!

    Reply
  5. Nicholas Varro Post author

    Just listed my brand new (built) home on Airbnb! Airbnb has the simplest and well thought out platform for new hosts! It was extremely easy to understand! Thank Airbnb for making it that way for us hosts!

    Reply
  6. Nicholas Varro Post author

    I wish I could just list my home on Airbnb.. I have to use the other platforms to also get bookings… and it’s exactly 50% on both.

    Reply
  7. Victoria Hewitt Post author

    Brian Chesky…you guys are terrible! Ive used a few that were great but 3 times nightmare, open needles in the fridge, i wasnt aware an pricked my inger didnt draw blood but had to go dr to take test 2x just to make syre, Roaches mouse the host so dirty nothing i the description true, no roof, he slept on the couch didnt have his own room, dirty, having sex n couch in open living room, Airbnb doesnt advocate for you, they put you i danger. no lock on door,.. when people complain you should look into it, one host came on to me and was in the room when i wasnt there i had my own little portable wifi, camera, he lied then when i told him he told me dont cause trouble for him im not to big to fit in a blck plastic bag. Airbnb does nothing about these experiences. Im a host myself my place is in Jamaica WI. Airbnb is scary for the most part. greedy & scary and not supportive to guest!.
    on place wasnt the same address as they sent you when you arrive airbnb told me a host can give you an entire different property if they want to. It was completely different from the place i paid to stay. Why doesnt airbnb require hosts to honor what they promise and place be safe and clean. ?!!! Only care about your money and the host the guest are out of luck no help when thy have nightmare situations.

    Reply
  8. Panorama Networking Post author

    Hello.
    I deleted my account from your site, but I still have unpaid money left there. How and when can I get my money?

    Best regards Anton Pumpa
    [email protected]

    Reply
  9. Panorama Networking Post author

    Hello.
    I deleted my account from your site, but I still have unpaid money left there. How and when can I get my money?

    Best regards Anton Pumpa
    [email protected]

    Reply
  10. Gman Post author

    Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria — not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea,” Michael Oren — a Kulanu MK and deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office who served as Israel’s envoy in Washington, DC, from 2009-2013 — tweeted. “Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism. No one should use its services.

    Reply
  11. JoAnne Rondell Post author

    "Delete Airbnb," a song for our time. https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2018/11/23/portnoys-complaint-clip-of-song-dissing-airbnb-over-israel-discrimination-goes-viral/?fbclid=IwAR2xpwvJNTNsE4rjjCjwhsi6Cklmb59Usr94XpeE94zsVdghoO8Ua1k2aw0

    Reply
  12. JoAnne Rondell Post author

    Speaks for itself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG86oDH4OKQ&feature=share

    Reply
  13. Douglas Morris Post author

    https://www.facebook.com/hillelneuer/posts/10157920329146729

    Reply
  14. yola mari Post author

    AIRbnb discriminates agains the Jews…they are not allowed to list their homes on the West bank, Judea and Samaria,but the Palistinians are.I am not Jewish,but this is shameful behaviour!!!! I will be letting all my contacts know about the Airbnb Politics because you are a disgrace!

    Reply

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