Airbnb offers “welcome bonus” for COP26 hosts in Glasgow

UK: Ahead of November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, Airbnb is offering a financial incentive to hosts in Glasgow to welcome guests and increase the accommodation capacity for the global event.

It comes in response to concerns of a shortage of accommodation during COP26, with around 30,000 government representatives, media and campaigners from around the world expected to attend the landmark climate conference, putting pressure on local accommodation providers.

According to the Glasgow Convention Bureau, hotel room capacity in Greater Glasgow is limited to just 15,000 rooms.

Airbnb is offering a £100 travel coupon to anyone that hosts their first guest on the platform in Glasgow during COP26 [running between 1-12 November], in order to help local families, businesses and communities economically benefit from the event and to support the climate debate with world leaders. Hosts are invited to opt into the offer and list their space at this link.

At the same time, the home-sharing platform has pledged to donate all of its revenue from service fees for stays taking place in Glasgow during the conference dates to Stirling-based non-governmental organisation [NGO] Zero Waste Scotland. The donation commitment applies to both existing and new bookings taking place during COP26.

Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said: “Airbnb offers a unique opportunity for communities in and around Glasgow to be a part of history during the landmark COP26 conference. Home-sharing helps cities use existing space to scale up their capacity and welcome major events.

“It also empowers locals to provide sustainable and affordable accommodation across the city, benefitting the local economy,” she added.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “This is a fantastic pledge from Airbnb. To truly end the climate crisis, we need to change how we consume.

“This donation will be a great boost to the work we are doing in Scotland to help citizens and businesses choose more sustainable ways to live, use the things we need and share resources,” he added.

Philippa Farnese, a host on Airbnb in Glasgow who is hosting a delegate, said: “I’m delighted for Glasgow to host such an event. It has significance not least because I work in the sustainability sector myself, so I’m very happy to host during the COP26.

“It is also exciting to be a host to someone who will be making a difference, the ultimate guest who comes with a great purpose. It feels like I’m taking part in COP26 even though I’m not a delegate,” she added.

Airbnb claims that hosts in the UK earned more than £225 million last summer, with the average host bringing in almost £1,000.

According to analysis from independent consultancy BiGGAR Economics which was commissioned by Airbnb, travel on the platform “boosts the Glasgow economy by £58 million a year and supports more than 2,800 local jobs”.

Airbnb provided the following tips for anyone considering hosting during COP26:

  1. Use quality photos – guests spend more time exploring photos than any other part of a listing.

  2. Write an accurate description of your space – focus on the style, uniqueness, condition and atmosphere of your space.

  3. Create a great Airbnb host profile – your profile is a great way for others to learn more about you before they book your space.

  4. Implement sustainable practices in your listing – whether it is letting your guests know how you recycle, telling them about public transportation in your city or simply using environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, it is easy to make small changes that can make travel more sustainable.

Following reports of unruly behaviour, neighbourhood disruption and parties taking place in Airbnb listings, the platform is encouraging potential and existing hosts to visit its responsible hosting page for information on hosting in Glasgow and the surrounding area.

Last September, Glasgow City Council sought a first-of-its-kind court interdict to shut a short-term rental property which was not complying with enforcement. The property on Victoria Road in the city’s southside was ordered to shut in 2019 after complaints of noise and anti-social behaviour.