Airbnb
An Airbnb host in Lisbon [Credit: Airbnb]

Airbnb commits to verifying 1.5m listings by end of March

Worldwide: Airbnb is committing to verifying nearly 1.5 million listings across the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK and France by the end of this month, as part of its spring update.

Having already pledged to do so in the autumn, Airbnb plans to complete the verification process of listings in the aforementioned companies by the end of March, with each listing receiving its own ‘verified’ badge in the process.

In addition, Airbnb will introduce photo and video authentication for more hosts in those countries to verify their homes. By this autumn, Airbnb will extend its commitment to listing verification into 30 additional countries across the world.

The move may initially be met by scepticism in some quarters of the industry, given that Airbnb had pledged to verify all of its listings for the first time as far back as November 2019. The platform has continued to be linked to so-called ‘party houses’, shootings, burglaries and misleading listings since then, although it is seemingly stepping up its verification efforts once again, including requiring verification from a valid government-issued ID or a legal name and address at the time of a reservation.

Furthermore, in a bid to deliver on high quality and reliability across its platform, Airbnb has announced that it will bring in a new highlight to help top listings stand out, based on ratings, reviews and reliability, from this summer. Those in the top 25 per cent of ranked listings globally will soon have a unique highlight added to their page, with the top one per cent receiving a trophy icon.

If a listing is in the bottom 10 per cent of ranked listings, it will be visible to guests before they make their reservation, and Airbnb has added a new sort function for lowest-rated reviews.

It follows Airbnb’s introduction of Guest Favorites in its 2023 Winter Release in November, to go alongside the existing ‘Superhost’ designation. Guest Favorites is described as a collection of the two million “most-loved” homes on Airbnb, based on ratings, reviews and reliability data from over half a billion trips.

Having previously faced the ire of hosts during the pandemic over its coronavirus cancellation policies and the anger of guests over its extenuating circumstances policies for refunds, Airbnb is now setting out to make changes and improvements to deter “avoidable” host cancellations, including:

  • Adjusting default booking settings and reducing calendar availability, to give new hosts greater control and flexibility before their first booking
  • New pricing tools for hosts to allow them to easily see the price guests pay, to prevent inaccurate pricing
  • Firmer consequences and stricter policies for host cancellations that could have been avoided

 

According to Airbnb, host cancellations were reduced by 36 per cent following the updates in the final quarter of 2023.

For listings themselves, Airbnb claims to have removed 100,000 listings that provide a below-par experience for guests since April 2023, when it launched an updated hosting quality system to better evaluate how it may have failed to meet quality standards for a stay.

Later this month, Airbnb hosts with listings in the United States and Canada will be able to connect compatible Schlage smart locks with their account and automatically generate unique codes for every reservation. Airbnb’s integration with August and Yale devices will roll out later this year, according to the company.

Airbnb will unveil its 2024 Summer Release in May, which will offer updates on existing products and services, as well as new launches.

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