Responding to its members’ generosity, the folks behind the apartment rental service tweaked its website to make it easier for thousands of New York-based hosts to open their spaces for free to people desperately in need of a place to stay during the crisis (see the video below).
Inspired by the positive response to its emergency housing initiative, web-based Airbnb decided to spend time working on implementing a more effective solution for such occasions, the result of which was announced Tuesday.
Disaster Response tool
According to Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk, the company’s new Disaster Response tool will:
– allow local residents with extra space to host those in need.
– allow existing hosts to donate their rooms for free to those in need.
– make all Airbnb bookings in areas affected by a natural disaster fee-free.
– email hosts in the affected area, asking them if they are able to help.
– connect guests to hosts that have space to offer in the affected area via a dynamic landing page.
– provide Airbnb’s 24/7 customer support, Trust & Safety tools, Host Guarantee and other services regularly available to Airbnb hosts.
– provide general disaster response information to guests and hosts.
Blecharczyk said in a blog post unveiling the new tool that Airbnb had worked with a range of experts in the course of its creation, including San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management, and design and innovation firm IDEO.
The Airbnb co-founder added that in order to maximize its effectiveness, the Disaster Response tool has been designed in such a way that it can be activated anywhere in the world in 30 minutes or less.
It’s a great move by Airbnb, who following Hurricane Sandy realized – thanks to the thoughtfulness of its users – that its site could be so much more than just a straightforward web-based apartment rental service.
“We have been amazed by the kindness and generosity of the people who are a part of our community,” Blecharczyk wrote. “We hope this new tool will make it easier for all of us to help our neighbors in times of need.”