The Airbnb Open is a gathering of 6,000 of the most dedicated hosts in the world (dedicated in that they footed the bill to go to Paris and attend!). With over 100 nationalities represented from diverse spots such as Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and Greenland, there is certainly a lot of clapping and cheering love for Airbnb.
The first day was opened by the Deputy Mayor of Paris who was there to specifically endorse what Airbnb is doing for Paris. The guests that come; the money they spend. Certainly a forward-looking view from a politician! However, he was keen to say “big ideas need regulation for protection against people who want to use them in a non-virtuous way.” Like every city – nobody likes the full-time hosts who are taking housing away from the citizens. The question of Airbnb continues to be, does their business model allow for them to stop this?
This was then addressed by the main man Brian Chesky. He was keen to state “we will always collect taxes”. Continuing on a theme that Airbnb has opened up their data a little in recent months to fight their political battles.
Airbnb will soon be releasing on 100 cities the following metrics:
- Total annual economic activity generated by the Airbnb community.
- Amount of income earned by a typical Airbnb host.
- Geographic distribution of Airbnb listings.
- The number of hosts who avoided eviction or foreclosure by sharing their home on Airbnb.
- The percentage of Airbnb hosts who are sharing their permanent home.
- Number of days a typical listing is rented on Airbnb.
- Total number of Airbnb guests who visited a city.
- Average number of guests per listing by city.
- Average number of days the average guest stayed in a city.
- Safety record of Airbnb listings.
These are pointedly not addressing full-time housing being taken off the market. Interestingly Chesky was at pains to point out that affordable housing is at the root of the culture of Airbnb – this was how he stayed afloat when launching Airbnb and he pointed to reams of hosts for whom the income from Airbnb had taken them out of a tough spot. Regular Airbnb watchers like AirDNA are on the fence as to whether this means any new initiatives to clamp down on hosts of multiple properties, but we think this unlikely. We studied these metrics in Santa Monica in a recent blog post, and much as the detractors of Airbnb claim otherwise, the vast majority of hosts and room nights come from those who rarely list.
What was remarkable about so many of the key speakers in the leadership team at Airbnb remain active hosts.
Joe Zadeh – VP of Product went on to talk about all important updates. He revealed on the way that 65% of reservations were made on mobile, with that number rising all of the time.
The main announcement was a complete refresh of the pricing tool.
Airbnb claims that those that have been using their existing pricing tool make 13% more than those that don’t. We at AirDNA are suspicious about this, having had ridiculous suggestions from this on our own properties, but perhaps the refresh will improve things. What makes us skeptical is Joe claiming that over-pricing hurts your listing, even if you get the price, as guests’ expectations rise too much. We feel, in the words of Mandy Rice-Davis “well he would say that, wouldn’t he.”
You tell the tool what your minimum price is, what your maximum price is and how often you want to host. The tool does the rest by analyzing:
- Your Location in the city
- Amenities offered
- Listings historical performance
- Quality and number of reviews
- Travel trends in the area
This is launching first for Airbnb Open attendees – we’ll let you know what we think in time.
Airbnb also announced a number of partnerships with firms around the Airbnb ecosystem. Particularly interesting was KeyCafe, who are now integrated with Airbnb so pickups and drops will be integrated. This is amazing news for KeyCafe, and good news for hosts also.
New Airbnb Business travel listing status
Mike Curtis, VP of Engineering laid out Airbnb’s plans for business travel and they clearly want a bigger slice of this market. Since launching Airbnb for business, employees of 1,000 companies have used it, including at Google and Salesforce.
Airbnb laid out they do not want to compete with hotels, they want to exceed them. They know business travel can be a lonely experience and they believe that hosts can bring a more meaningful experience to the life of a lonely road warrior.
The big news for hosts is they will soon have a check mark for ‘business approved’.
In order for a property to be eligible for a business approved status the listing will need to have the criteria:
- High Quality: At least 60% of reviews must be 5-stars
- Responsive: Must respond to at least 90% of booking requests with 24 hours
- Committed: May not cancel any confirmed reservations within 7 days
- Home Type: Must be entire home rental with no smoking or pets
- Business Amenities: Include high-speed Wifi, desk, and 24-hour access
Business guests on average pay 3 times as much, become regulars often, stay midweek and have year-round needs.
Did you attend the Airbnb Open? We’d love to hear from you on other announcements, comments, and takeaways from the event. Feel free to contact us at [email protected]