Airbnb has announced a new safety initiative for its customers that calls for verifying every single Airbnb listing around the globe.
The safety updates include 100% verification of listings, a guest money-back guarantee, a 24/7 Neighbor Hotline, and risk scoring. The company talked about the updates in a letter written by Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder, CEO, and head of community, and published on Wednesday, November 6.
“The world moves at the speed of trust, and the more trust that exists, the more access we can all have,” Chesky wrote. “Airbnb is founded on trust, and our vision depends on us continuing to increase this in our community.”
Chesky said by December 2020, every home and host on Airbnb’s network of over 7 million listings would receive a verification for accuracy and quality standards. Verification would include the accuracy of photos, cleanliness, safety, and listing details.
If guests aren’t satisfied with the accuracy standards of their Airbnb, starting December 15, Airbnb will rebook the guest to a new listing, or the guests will get a full refund. The Neighbor Hotline will launch in the U.S. on December 31 and is meant to provide a rapid, direct response for guests.
The safety initiatives are a result of a variety of incidents, but Chesky points explicitly to an event in Orinda, California, that occurred on Halloween. Five people were killed in a shooting at a party that was hosted at an Airbnb.
To address the incident, one of the new safety initiatives is “human risk review,” which Chesky says will “help identify suspicious reservations and stop unauthorized parties before they start.”
Airbnb has been criticized for guest safety before — namely when it comes to hidden cameras found in homes.
There have been several publicized cases of hidden cameras in rentals, including a couple who found a camera hidden in an alarm clock, and Airbnb has faced legal action over hidden camera issues.
In its terms for community standards, Airbnb requires hosts to disclose all surveillance devices in their listings, and prohibits devices that observe “the interior of certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms), regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.”