Everything you need to know about Airbnb hosts and homes
When you or your coworkers are ready to book upcoming work trips through your Airbnb for Work company dashboard, Airbnb’s search function gives you access to over four million listings in more than 191 countries. At the heart of those listings are Airbnb hosts, who play a pivotal role in the Airbnb platform and the company’s mission of “belong anywhere.”
In this overview, you’ll learn how:
- hosts set up their listings
- Airbnb works with hosts to secure the safety of those listings for your travelers
- to identify and book listings specifically designated to meet the needs of business travelers
Airbnb hosts have two options when renting out their property: an entire home, or a private room. In an entire home, hosts can rent out their entire property for the duration of a stay, so that the guests will be the only ones occupying the property. For private rooms, hosts are residing onsite at the same time as the guest.
Hosts list their property on Airbnb’s website with an in-depth description, along with multiple photos, pricing and location details, and a description of themselves. After each stay, reviews and ratings from previous guests of both the host and the home are displayed on each listing page. Ratings and reviews on Airbnb are double-blind, which means that both the host and guest cannot see what the other party has written until they have both submitted their feedback.
While it’s more common for enterprise companies to limit Airbnb stays to entire homes, many travel managers at small and mid-sized companies allow travelers to stay in either hosted or private Airbnb listings for their business trips.
Sean Flynn, Controller and manager of the travel program at Gusto, an online payroll service for small businesses, illustrates the point. “We have no specific guidelines or restrictions around which Airbnb listings employees can use,” Flynn said. “Right now, whatever is flowing through is fine, and we’ve had no issues at all.”
A focus on safety and security
Airbnb’s priority is an issue-free experience that protects the safety and security of its hosts and guests.
At the foundation of that commitment is Airbnb’s robust Trust and Safety team, which is comprised of 24/7 response agents, engineers, data scientists, product managers, designers, law-enforcement liaisons, crisis managers, and victim-advocacy specialists. That’s in addition to the company’s deep bench of experts in policy, privacy, cyber security, insurance, and fraud issues. Specifically, Airbnb works with hosts to prioritize the safety of all listings in a number of ways.
If there is ever an issue, if a home is not as advertised or if something just doesn’t feel right, all the guest has to do is reach out and let us know.
“All hosts must follow all local safety laws and regulations, plus the majority of our hosts live in that same home when they are not renting it out,” said Nick Shapiro, Global Head of Trust and Risk Management at Airbnb. Airbnb routinely runs home safety workshops with local fire services in order to equip hosts with the best practices and the latest safety information.
“Plus, we never release payment to a host until the guest is safely checked in,” Shapiro added. “If there is ever an issue, if a home is not as advertised or if something just doesn’t feel right, all the guest has to do is reach out and let us know. We will happily rebook them elsewhere, even in a hotel if need be.”
Work Collection listings for business travelers
Airbnb listings include a Work Collection comprised of work-ready homes and private rooms with a private bath that offer all the essentials and amenities business travelers need to be productive and comfortable. To qualify for the Work Collection, each listing must include a number of service and amenity requirements, have a minimum number of positive reviews and ratings, and feature flexible or moderate cancellation policies.
Work Collection listings are limited to property types that business travelers need such as homes, apartments, condos, lofts, and townhouses. Smoke detectors are present, and all Work Collection listings are equipped with wifi. As business travelers can arrive at their destination at all hours, self-check in is available. And, to ensure that your business travelers have a comfortable stay, these listings have fresh linens, clean towels, soap and shampoo, a hair dryer, an iron, and hangers.
Wifi and self-check in top the list of what most travel managers find most valuable in Airbnb listings for travel for work. “Wifi is an absolute necessity,” said Alla Neys, Director of Global Travel Programs for Medallia, a cloud-based customer feedback firm. “Business travelers need to work in their room, whether it’s a hotel or Airbnb. It’s great that Airbnb does not charge separately for wifi unlike many hotels.”
While wifi is a must-have, said Karena Graca, Travel Coordinator for Graham, an integrated construction solutions firm, “24/7 access is very important as well, because sometimes our travelers arrive at 11 at night.”
Making the connection
Regardless of what type of property is booked, travelers, those booking for others, or travel managers have the opportunity to message the host before and during the guest stay. This online conversation creates a strong sense of community and a highly effective support network for travelers. Hosts also generally like to provide local knowledge to help their guests get comfortable in their neighborhood and home.
“I always communicate with the host,” said Gusto’s Flynn. “For me, there is a humanizing effect. In most cases, though for money of course, someone is inviting a stranger into their home and that means a great deal to me. I am not necessarily the type of person who wants to get into a listing and chat the whole way through, but I also believe that this is a business transaction with someone who is presumably not unlike you in a lot of ways.” While logistics comprise much of the communication pre-stay, Flynn said he always includes “saying ‘thank you’ on the front end of the trip.”
I always communicate with the host. For me, there is a humanizing effect.
Neys said Medallia employees regularly communicate with hosts and find the messaging capability to be “very valuable.” She added, “Sometimes people might want to negotiate for a lower rate. Or they might have questions about the area, or about a late arrival. It’s a great communications tool.”
Once the travel period is over and the guest has checked out of the Airbnb listing, both the host and the guest review and rate each other on a five-star scale. Only guests who actually stayed at a property are able to review the property, and the double-blind system ensures that feedback and ratings are honest.
Airbnb’s review and rating system is designed to provide a continuous feedback loop that builds and maintains the overall quality of its community of homes. Additionally, Airbnb hosts are highly motivated to maintain excellent product and service rankings to ensure they continue to attract business, just like any other accommodations provider anywhere in the world.
Search for Superhosts
Many travel managers, trip planners, and business travelers also look for listings hosted by a Superhost.
Superhosts are automatically identified by Airbnb for their active hosting status and their dedication to providing outstanding hospitality to all travelers. Over the past year, Superhosts have hosted at least 10 trips with a 50 percent review rate, maintained a 90 percent response rate or higher to booking inquiries, and received a 5-star review at least 80 percent of the time they received reviews and a 4.75 overall rating on a scale of 1 to 5. Superhosts have also hosted reservations without canceling in the last 12 months.
Many travel managers find that searching for Work Collection and Superhost listings expedites the process of identifying properties that are a perfect fit for their travelers’ needs and compliant with company travel policy. With the simple and intuitive company dashboard, Airbnb equips your team with tools designed to make your responsibility of booking and managing travel easier.