Airbnb plans to verify every listing on its platform by the end of next year, a major policy change designed to increase confidence and security after a shooting at a rental car where five and five a report about scammers benefit from renters.
Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, said the company plans to be "100 percent verified" by the end of 2020. All hosts and listings are assessed as part of the process, with the aim of ensuring that hosts are who they say they are, photos and information are correct and the locations meet safety standards.
"We're going to make sure we can stand behind every single list, every single host," Chesky said. He called the plans to date the "most important" change to Airbnb. The announcements were made at The New York Times DealBook conference during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin.
However, verification does not mean that Airbnb sends inspectors to every home and apartment on the site. Instead, verification takes place through a combination of business and community control. As part of this, Airbnb is starting to ask guests to answer more questions about the places they've stayed so that the company can get updates on whether the listing details are correct. "We are trying to triangulate information," Chesky said.
Airbnb is also starting to note which listings have been verified and which are still being reviewed. While that is not entirely in line with Airbnb's "100 percent verified" goal, Chesky says the company ultimately wants to reach a point where the company can immediately verify new listings.
In addition to verification, Airbnb also announces a few other new policies to increase guest safety. The company now offers a guarantee for guests – if an offer is not as described, Airbnb will try to find a new place with the same or higher value, or otherwise fully refund it. This change is coming after a Vice report about scammers who abuse Airbnb's cancellation policy to get money from renters before they post the statement on them.
Airbnb also plans to open a 24/7 fast-responding telephone line with live operators trained to resolve issues encountered by guests. The company also plans to provide manual reviews of all & # 39; high-risk & # 39; make reservations, such as a person booking a large house in a city where they already live, suggesting that it could be for a party.
Airbnb's model has always been based on trust in landlords and tenants to be honest with each other. The company has also taken its own steps to monitor users – having reservations perform a "risk" analysis and background checks on hosts and guests. But the model still leaned heavily on the community and left uncertainties open that you would never have when booking in a hotel.
Now more than ten years old, operating in almost every country around the world and serving 2 million tenants every night, according to Airbnb's own statistics, the company has reached a scale on which it is increasingly likely that it will be in trouble coming. Although these changes only come after a week of extremely bad incidents for Airbnb, they are starting to take on a major liability and make the service much more reliable for guests.
When asked about the costs for Airbnb to implement all these changes, Chesky said it would be expensive but necessary. "Ultimately, we are working on trust, so we have to make these investments to protect our users," Chesky said.