The Future. CEO Brian Chesky says Airbnb is working on a raft of updates to get its “house in order.” The evolution comes just as the company has faced a mix of guest criticisms, host complaints, city regulations, and a changing culture around travel. While Airbnb may strengthen its service with the fixes, it may have no choice but to scale down to stay sustainable, too.
Airbnb’s revamp focuses on “five common pain points,” according to Bloomberg.
- Strengthening the core. Chesky says the company needs to ensure “consistency and reliability,” especially now that the company has scaled so much. That means uniform standards that still allow host individuality and a stronger customer-support system.
- Lowering prices. This means not just cutting rental costs but also curbing the derided cleaning fees (and laundry-running and toilet-cleaning mandates). Airbnb is adding up-front, all-in pricing for guests and dynamic-pricing insights for hosts.
- Controlling quality. Leveraging AI, Airbnb wants to ensure rental listings actually match with the physical location (a growing scam), so it can flag questionable properties. It also wants to use the tech to catch potential partiers (an enduring problem).
- Rewarding loyalty. This is still a long way off, but Chesky wants the offering to encompass more than discounts — he wants the offering to make the main service even better for guests.
- Supercharging experiences. As big-ticket cities like NYC kneecap the service, Airbnb wants to offer tour-guide-esque experiences that still give the company a presence and hosts another way to make money.
Chesky says Airbnb isn’t stopping there, hinting another major upgrade is set to be unveiled sometime next month. Maybe it’ll include something about the new tourist tolls popping up throughout Europe…