Fun + Unique Airbnb News, September ’16

airbnb news - september 2016

In this monthly piece, I’m going to focus on the fun and interesting news coming out about Airbnb. I’ll mostly be ignoring news from governments and special-interest groups about regulation, litigation, taxes, housing crisis, etc.

Airbnb Will Hold Hosts to Higher Standard, Hire More Minorities

This is shocking! If you deny a guest, your calendar will be blocked for that day. This is bad policy. Really, bad policy. Airbnb is telling hosts they don’t know who they should versus should not accept into their home. Really? I’ve hosted hundreds of guests and am apt at choosing which guests are most suitable for my home. Not to mention, guests don’t read and it’s the host job to ensure the guest will be a good fit as their review is on the line.

Here’s an active thread on the Airbnb Host Forums about this.

Hundreds of Airbnb hosts are offering free shelter to people affected by disasters in Italy, Louisiana, and California

One of the benefits of having Airbnb’s nearby is they act as emergency housing. This has happened a few times here in San Francisco, my hometown, when fires have burned down homes. I’m glad to see this trend gaining some traction. Do you think hotels would open their rooms for free?

Here is Airbnb’s Urgent Accommodation page with 3,000+ active free listings.

On a related note, EmergencyBNB caters to refugee’s or victims of domestic violence.

Airbnb Tries out Concierge Role With App for Dining, City Guides

Then,

Airbnb already took down its new travel guide app

It’s a short article, I hope as short as the remaining life span of Magical Trips. Airbnb has invested heavily in being part of the offline travel experience over the past couple years through an initiative called ‘Magical Trips’. I’ve been part of it, offering experiences, and I’m not a believer. After all, they’re trying to take mass produced tourism experiences into more personalized experiences. This may work, but guess what will eventually happen? Once operators understand more money is to be made by mass producing them, they’ll do just that. Great idea, but not there yet and I wish I had solutions to offer on this one. It’s a big idea.

How Airbnb designs for trust

This is an amazing analogy from Joe Gebbia, Airbnb cofounder! Go to 5:30, watch for 60 seconds, and you’ll understand why Airbnb is a thing and why people so frightened to let astrangerr in their home have always been wrong.

New Airbnb tool provides home-sharing data at a glance

Data from Airbnb! The company isn’t in the habit of releasing this type of data, nor is it particularly useful. However, it is interesting to look at. They’ve provided nine bits of data on nine different neighborhoods. The link in the article takes you to the landing page, but this link takes you directly to the data.

Airbnb Probably Isn’t Driving Rents Up Much, At Least Not Yet

This article does a really good job of presenting both sides of the issue and being as unbiased as possible. However, the article said this when talking about the top 25 markets in the US:

“The absolute number of commercial units on Airbnb is relatively low, representing well below 1 percent of all rental units. Any impact on rental supply is therefore small, and limited to a handful of neighborhoods where such services are most popular.”