Airbnb gets closer to property owners
New York City – 8 March 2017 –
Airbnb, the leading online marketplace for short-term lodging, has invited some of the owners of properties listed on its service, known as hosts, to attend executive board meetings and offered them more direct contact with its chief executive, in an attempt to give the people vital to the company’s success a greater say in how it is run.
Airbnb depends on the loyalty and advocacy of its hosts – people who rent out their homes and apartments through the company’s website – in its battles with regulators in cities across the globe, Reuters reported.
Unlike the guests that use Airbnb, hosts are usually voters and taxpayers in their communities, and have more sway with elected officials. Host advocacy was pivotal to the defeat of Proposition F in San Francisco, a measure on the ballot in 2015 to limit short-term rentals.
In an event at Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters on Tuesday, attended by dozens of Airbnb hosts from across the world, CEO Brian Chesky announced that he will have more direct communication with hosts through periodic emails and quarterly Facebook Live events.
He added that Airbnb will create an advisory board made up of hosts, and will invite certain hosts to one board meeting a year.
Airbnb will also expand the number of what it calls “host clubs” to 1,000 from 114 by the end of 2018, Chesky said. The hosts clubs were launched in 2015 as an effort to galvanise hosts to engage with local officials and head off regulatory crackdowns. Chesky also said he would take on the additional title of head of community.
Airbnb has faced opposition from local governments and the established hospitality industry in many places, just as ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc has faced opposition from local regulators and existing taxi services.