Monday, October 11, 2021

Airbnb launches safety program, ‘third-party peer review’ for hosts

Airbnb and its competitors, like VRBO and HomeAway, are battling over everything from homeowners’ rights to pet rights. But apparently, sharing a safe living space for vacationers is also on the agenda.

According to Bloomberg, the online-room-rental sites are partnering with authorities, philanthropists and local government to advance so-called “sharing economy” standards, including a three-star rating system for hosts, fingerprint background checks for renters and reporting services. The site wants to help make sure that longtime homeowners who rent out their homes pay all their taxes and that renters can handle any disputes with their hosts safely.

Airbnb entered into a similar agreement with Boston last summer, making that city the first to adopt the three-star rating system. Now the San Francisco-based company has set its sights on the rest of the United States and Canada. Airbnb also has an international version in Canada and is collaborating with local municipal governments to create set of shared standards and regulations. In New York City, which seems to be handling the issue slowly, Airbnb is working with city officials to help “combat anti-sharing economy rhetoric and increase inclusivity,” the New York Post reported on Friday.

Another component of Airbnb’s safety program is a 24-hour hotline for disputes, something that works quite similarly to an old city ordinance, according to the Wall Street Journal. Homeowners may call a number that targets specific neighborhoods and can relay complaints to other homeowners in a similar area or the police. For hosts, providing a place to stay can be easy, but doing the dirty work like dealing with tenants can be hard. Airbnb is hoping to help homeowners manage the process with a “call center” and a “two-way online chat,” according to the WSJ. The website has also worked to make certain that its users are comfortable in conversation. The company launched a 24-hour hotline for hosts this past January and provides training to its hosts “so they are able to assess and resolve personal issues in an open and open-minded manner,” according to its site.

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

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