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    May 13: It’s time to start looking ahead

    Get insights into the future of travel and how Airbnb plans to adapt.
    By Airbnb on May 13, 2020
    22 min video
    Updated Apr 27, 2021


    • Guests will be searching for private spaces closer to home, and cleanliness, affordability, and flexibility will be important

    • Committing to our enhanced cleaning protocol is completely optional, but we’re encouraging all hosts to adopt higher standards for cleaning

    • Although our workforce has been reduced, we’re just as dedicated to supporting our host community as we’ve ever been

    During this week’s Host Update, CEO Brian Chesky focused on the future. He talked about the difficult decision to reduce Airbnb’s workforce, shared insights about how travel is evolving, and answered more of your top questions. Here are some of the highlights.

    Adapting to the future of travel

    Travel is a resilient industry—the recovery will take time, but we’re already noticing some signs of improvement. But it’s important to keep in mind that people may not travel the same way they did before COVID-19. Here are some of the latest trends on Airbnb:

    • People will book stays closer to home. Since the pandemic began, the percentage of people booking nearby stays has more than doubled from 13% to 30%.
    • Travelers will want more affordable options. The global economy is struggling, and many people are now out of work, so it’s no wonder our lowest-cost stays—those under $50 USD/night—are growing quickly.
    • There will be a desire for private spaces. The majority of past and prospective guests have told us they’d feel more comfortable staying with their families in a space listed on Airbnb than at a hotel.
    • Cleanliness will be more important than ever. The good news is that Airbnb hosts already have a strong track record here—in 94% of reviews, guests have given your spaces 4 or 5 stars for cleanliness. And with our new enhanced cleaning protocol, you’ll be in an even better position to protect yourselves and your guests, and to stand out from the crowd. 
    • People will book more trips at the last minute. The percentage of last-minute bookings has doubled since the emergence of COVID-19.

    Supporting hosts with a reduced workforce

    We want to reassure you that despite reductions to our workforce, we are fully staffed to support you. We’ll continue to respond to your questions on our social channels, in the Community Center, and through our community support team, and we’ll keep seeking your input online and through our host listening sessions. With that said, we may need some extra patience and understanding over the next couple of weeks. There have been some big changes to our teams, and there could be delays while we adjust. But just as our community support team learned to work differently when this crisis first started, we’ll continue to adapt to give hosts and guests the support they need.

    Balancing the needs of hosts and guests

    Some of you have asked why our policies and programs seem to favor guests over hosts, and we want to reassure you that we’re committed to supporting both sides. We couldn’t do this without you. At the same time, we know that unhappy guests won’t book again, so we need to focus on their satisfaction, too. You might be surprised to learn that a lot of the negative feedback about our extenuating circumstances policy is actually coming from guests.

    It’s always going to be a challenge to balance the needs of stakeholders in a two-sided platform like Airbnb, but we’re doing our best. Your feedback is essential to helping us get that balance right, so please keep it coming. The Community Center is still the best place to share your thoughts with us.

    Participating in Airbnb’s enhanced cleaning protocol

    We recently announced our recommended cleaning protocol, which will offer step-by-step cleaning guidelines for hosts. Some of you are wondering if you’ll be penalized for not agreeing to commit to the expert-led protocol. While we hope that all Airbnb hosts will take this opportunity to better protect themselves and their guests, the protocol is completely optional and there won’t be any penalties for hosts who choose not to participate.

    With that said, it’s important to keep in mind that guests will be looking for a higher standard of cleanliness than ever before, and we believe that adopting the protocol will give you a competitive advantage. We’ve done our best to make the process achievable for most hosts. And for hosts who can’t commit to the protocol, they’ll have the option to offer a booking buffer instead. Learn more 

    Getting back to our roots

    When this crisis is over, people will long for human connection, and that’s what Airbnb has always done best. Our mission to create belonging and connection would not be possible without the everyday people who host in their homes and offer experiences—hosts like you. We’ll be renewing our focus on that mission and doubling down on our efforts to support you.

    We look forward to your ongoing partnership as we work to create an even stronger, more focused Airbnb. Thank you for being a host and for everything you do.

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

    May 13, 2020
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