Airbnb on Wednesday announced several steps it will take to strengthen its verification process and build trust with customers after a shooting at one of its rentals in Orinda, Calif., killed five people.
CEO Brian Chesky said in an email to employees that the company is making its most significant steps “in designing trust on our platform” since its 2008 launch.
“Our real innovation is not allowing people to book a home; it’s designing a framework to allow millions of people to trust one another. Trust is the real energy source that drives Airbnb and has enabled us to scale our platform to 191 countries and to more than 600 million members,” Chesky said.
“But recently, events by bad actors on our platform took advantage of that trust, including at a home in Orinda, California. We intend to do everything possible to learn from these incidents when they occur.”
The company had already moved to ban "party houses" after the Halloween night shooting, which reportedly included students from a local college.
Airbnb will begin verifying homes it rents for accuracy of their listings and quality standards and will clearly label those that meet its standards. Chesky said the company’s goal is to have every home and host on Airbnb reviewed and 100 percent verified by Dec. 15, 2020.
The company is also issuing a new guarantee effective Dec. 15 of this year that would rebook a guest or get that guest a 100 percent refund if “a listing it does not meet our accuracy standards.” It will also launch a 24/7 hotline and ramp up its manual screenings at reservations flagged by risk detection models to address unauthorized house parties.
“With these additional protections, we will work together with our community of guests and hosts to reinforce the trust platform that we have built with our community. The world moves at the speed of trust, and the more trust that exists, the more access we can all have. Airbnb is founded on trust, and our vision depends on us continuing to increase this in our community,” Chesky said.
Airbnb currently has over 7 million listings in over 100,000 cities and 191 countries.