Op-Ed: Airbnb reinforces existing measures to help reduce, detect, respond to safety issues
Fostering belonging, building trust, and helping to keep our community safe are foundational to Airbnb’s business and are some of the reasons we have grown to more than 5.6 million active listings globally.
We place a high priority on the safety of the hosts and guests on our platform, as well as their homes and neighborhoods. We work to help promote our community standards, the values that underpin our global community and prohibit reckless behavior that disturbs the surrounding neighborhood, are upheld, and enforced.
Those found to have violated our community standards may be subject to suspension or removal from the platform.
In this vein, last year, Airbnb dedicated new tools in our sustained efforts toward helping to keep our community safe. These measures include:
- Neighborhood Support Line — an urgent communication channel for nuisances requiring real-time support;
- Screening of high-risk reservations;
- Party prevention efforts; and,
- Guest Standards.
Although the overwhelming majority of guests on Airbnb are respectful travelers and issues do not arise, we want to help resolve complaints about disturbances or nuisance in the communities of the hosts on Airbnb. Airbnb has established the Neighborhood Support Line, enabling community members to report potential breaches of our community standards quickly and efficiently.
Neighbors can visit airbnb.com/neighbors and request a phone call to speak with a specialized support ambassador or submit a written complaint, providing an easy-to-access channel to flag concerns for our rapid response ambassadors. We aim to respond within 10 minutes when neighbors request a phone call.
The calls will be answered in English, but we are working to expand our support to include Spanish speakers in the near future. While emergencies and safety incidents should be reported to local authorities, this additional urgent communication channel aims to address both immediate disturbances — such as an unauthorized party in progress — as well as long-term or recurring issues within the community.
Screening of high-risk reservations
Since December 2019, we have expanded screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our automated systems in Puerto Rico with the goal of helping to stop unauthorized parties before they start.
Our high-risk detection systems flag potentially problematic reservations for review. In our review, we will look at several factors, including the duration of the stay and listing attributes such as the size of the listing.
In August 2020, we announced a global ban on all parties and events at listings on Airbnb, in accordance with our policies and in the interest of public health, until further notice. This was accompanied by a new occupancy cap of 16 people in a listing.
In addition to these safety standards, the host guarantee protects eligible hosts against damage to property (housing, rooms, belongings) for up to $1 million. Also, the Host Protection Insurance provides eligible hosts civil liability coverage for up to $1 million against third-party claims for injuries or property damage.
Airbnb’s existing community standards have long requested guests to follow hosts’ permissible house rules, but in recent months we have solicited feedback from hosts around the world and now our guest standards include five scenarios: excessive noise, unauthorized guests, parking and smoking or leaving the listing in a state that requires excessive or deep cleaning.
Since 2020, if Airbnb has determined that a guest has violated the new standards, the first violation will result in a warning and Airbnb will inform the guest where on our site they can find Airbnb’s policies and standards. Further violations may result in account suspension or removal.
At Airbnb, safety is a priority. We have continued to join efforts on our trust and safety guidelines to help promote such values on the Airbnb platform. We invest in tools to promote trust and safety for Hosts, guests, and the neighborhoods they visit. Our commitment is and will continue to be with the protection of the community. We disapprove and discourage any reckless behavior.
These are all components of Airbnb’s commitment to continuously innovate so that we can reduce, detect, and respond to safety issues.
We will continue working in 2021 to further explore other technology to support our hosts in efforts to promote trust and safety in their spaces and neighborhoods.