While I have yet to try Airbnb's services, I have used other home-based rental services, such as Vacation Rentals by Owner, in the past when I've traveled. Sadly, last month a San Francisco host had her home vandalized by a guest, which has caused the company to revamp its existing policies. In a statement, Airbnb cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky wrote,
On August 15th, we will be implementing a $50,000 Airbnb Guarantee, protecting the property of hosts from damage by Airbnb guests who book reservations through our website. We will extend this program to EJ and any other hosts who may have reported such property damage while renting on Airbnb in the past. We've built this company by listening to our community. Guided by your feedback, we have iterated to become safer and more secure. Our job's not done yet; we're still evolving. In the wake of these recent events, we've heard an uproar from people, both inside and outside our community. Know that we were closely listening.
Keep reading for details on the safety policy and money guarantee for hosts.
Over the next few weeks, Airbnb will implement the following changes:
- Hosts who book reservations through Airbnb will be covered for loss or damage due to vandalism or theft caused by an Airbnb guest up to $50,000 with the Airbnb Guarantee. This program will also apply retroactively to any hosts who may have reported such property damage prior to Aug. 1, 2011.
- Airbnb has doubled its customer support team from 42 to 88 people and will be bringing on a 10-year veteran from eBay as its director of customer support next week.
- Beginning next week, Airbnb will have 24-hour operators and customer support staff ready to provide around-the-clock phone and email support.
- Airbnb now has an in-house task force devoted to the manual review of suspicious activity. This team will also build new security features based on community feedback.
- If hosts cannot get in contact with anyone, they are urged to contact the CEO directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Airbnb's new safety policies and tips for hosts renting their homes, check out Airbnb's new safety page.
Have you ever used a service like Airbnb or VRBO to rent your home? Was your experience positive?