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Airbnb Setup: How the company wants to help millions of new hosts “Airbnb it”

airbnb setup

Airbnb wants people to do more than consider listing their place on its platform. The company wants to actively help more people become new hosts, thanks to its just released Airbnb Setup program. It is more than a guide or a checklist: Airbnb Setup gives the option to connect brand-new hosts to experienced ones, welcome only experienced guests to make it less scary the first times they act as a host, and contact a dedicated support team trained to help new hosts.
Airbnb is going after individuals who want to list their primary or secondary homes. Or even just private rooms, as Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has done. The new “Airbnb it” commercials promote Airbnb Setup, which proves how seriously the company takes this people-powered program to help millions of new hosts join its platform.

Why Airbnb thinks that 2023 is the new 2008: Recessions get more people to start hosting

“I think this is going to be in some ways similar to 2008,” said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, speaking to Yahoo Finance Live. “A lot of people that weren’t considering hosting are probably now considering it.”

Airbnb thinks that recessionary times drive people to change behaviors and start doing things they had not considered before, such as hosting travelers in a spare bedroom. The company sees it as a chance to increase its number of hosts.

The hope is that, when good times come back, some of these hosts may add entire homes or even create mini short-term empires, as happened after the 2008 recession. 

Airbnb it: Making it easy for new hosts to go from Step One to Guest One

The all-new, super easy way to Airbnb your home Airbnb Setup is a mix of tools and human help to get people to start hosting, set up their listing, and welcome their first guests. Airbnb Setup is an example of Airbnb’s powerful understanding of how to leverage its own platform in terms of tools and people

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Airbnb Setup is made of three key components:

One-to-one guidance from a Superhost

How Airbnb describes it:

Get matched with your very own Superhost—an experienced Host who’ll provide hands-on help from your first question through your first guest. They’re available by phone, video or chat in over 80 countries.

New hosts can create their listings on their own or choose to be matched with a Superhost. Two major factors enter into the matching process:

  • The listing location so that the new host can better relate to the Superhost and the latter has relevant advice on their local Airbnb market
  • Whether the listing is an entire place or shared spaces. We see two reasons for this differentiation: First, news hosts about to welcome guests in a private room within their home have a different set of worries than hosts who do not interact as closely with guests. Second, we also think that Airbnb reserves a higher bonus for new entire homes than for shared spaces.
Airbnb-match-witch-a-Superhost

With Airbnb Setup, the guidance goes beyond what the Ask a Superhost program used to offer:

  • Not only can new hosts ask questions to their designated Superhost mentor by email or chat
  • But new hosts can also share their screen and talk by video chat (probably through Zoom) so that a Superhost can help them pick the best photos for their listing or guide them through the Hosting Dashboard.
Airbnb Superhost guidance

An experienced guest for the first booking (i.e. a verified guest with at least 3 stays and good track record)

To help you feel more comfortable the first time you host, you now have the option to welcome an experienced guest—someone with at least three stays and a good track record on Airbnb.

Airbnb experienced guest definition

What is an experienced guest according to Airbnb?

To qualify as an experienced guest, a guest must have: Verified IDConfirmed payment detailsMinimum three stays on AirbnbGood track record.

Verified ID

As part of the identity verification process, Airbnb may ask guests to provide us with their legal name, address, Government ID, and/or other documentation.

Confirmed payment details

To qualify as an experienced guest the account holder must have added a payment method with Airbnb. Airbnb supports different payment methods, depending on the country a payment account is located in.

Three stays on Airbnb

Experienced guests must have completed at least three stays on Airbnb—where they’ve booked the reservation.

Good track record

Experienced guests must have a good track record.

The majority of guests are respectful and well-behaved. In addition to behaving in accordance with our Community Standards and Health and Safety Requirements, which apply to all community members, guests who stay in listings on Airbnb must meet the following guest standards:

  • Respect surrounding communities
  • Respect listings
  • Respect Hosts’ rules

Guests that have recently broken Airbnb policies—or house rules set by Hosts—don’t qualify as experienced guests.

Specialized support from Airbnb

Airbnb has realizes that not all hosts are equal:

  • Superhosts, the most productive ones, want a fast and special access to Airbnb. So, they get a team dedicated to helping them. It’s been like this for a few years, even if the Supethost support line was discontinued during the pandemic where Airbnb laid off a lot of employees and contractors.
  • New hosts are now getting their own support team. Unlike with Superhosts, there is no response time guarantee. Here, it is more about Airbnb proving access to support agents who are trained to making the platform accessible to newbies.

With just one tap, new Hosts can reach our specially-trained Community Support agents for help with anything from account issues to getting paid. They’re currently available in 42 languages.

Specialized support for new Airbnb hosts

Airbnb Setup exemplifies the company’s genius at leveraging the entrepreneurial sense of its Superhost community

“The best way to help you do something new is with the help of someone who’s done it before”, says Airbnb to explain why Airbnb Setup connects brand new hosts to experienced ones.

What happened to Airbnb’s Ask a Superhost? It is now Airbnb Superhost Guidance

The former Ask a Superthost program, now rebranded into “one-to-one guidance from a Superhost”, is one part of what Airbnb calls its “people-powered programs.” The idea is to inject human support when tools and support pages can only do so much. Airbnb also says that it got some inspiration from the Genius Bar at Apple Stores, where experienced tech-support employees, called Geniuses, have a friendly chat with Apple customers while trying to fix their wares.

People keen on listing their place have the option to get help from designated Superhosts. Superhosts will help them create their listing, write their description, price their nights, and answer questions. In return, the Superhost mentor gets a bonus (up to several hundred of dollars) each time a mentee gets their first booking.

It is usually not too much work for hosts, so the money is good. Entrepreneurial Superhosts are offering a lot of webinars and training to capture new hosts even before they land on Airbnb’s platform. 

Remove fears about hosting: The crucial role of Aircover for Hosts as an enabler for Airbnb Setup

Aircover for Hosts is not part of the Airbnb Setup but acts as a very important companion to it. Airbnb Setup addresses fears about not knowing how to create a listing and making mistakes when welcoming the first guests.

Aircover for Hosts addresses fears around property damage and welcoming potentially unrespectful, even dangerous, guests. The original $1,000,000 Airbnb Damage Guarantee was launched more than 10 years ago. Airbnb had identified that it was a crucial factor in convincing hosts to start listing. 

During its recent Winter Release, Airbnb improved its host protection, guarantee, and insurance program, now called Aircover for Hosts.

For existing Airbnb Hosts, the focus is an improved Aircover for Hosts program (now with $3M damage protection, up from $1M). Now that both Booking.com and Vrbo offer a free $1M liability insurance, Airbnb had to up the ante. Yet, in terms of frequency, we think that the company does not often face $1M damage claims, let alone $3M. This is a vanity metric that is probably going to work more on new hosts.

Airbnb says that it has improved Guest identity verification and Reservation screening. These features are important for hosts, especially new ones, to hear about, but they have actually been around for a while.

  • Guest identity verification has been more or less here since Airbnb’s inception, especially in the US. What is new is that it now covers Airbnb’s top 35 countries and goes global in 2023
  • Reservation screening feature, which analyzes and blocks bookings with suspicious patterns, was first unveiled for the US market in October 2020 and then progressively extended. Now, Airbnb says that is exclusive to its platforms

“Airbnb it commercials”: Showing Airbnb Setup in motion, from Step One to Guest One

Airbnb is running a new series of commercials as part of its “Airbnb it” campaign. Airbnb Setup is front and center in the ads. Aircover for hosts is also mentioned.

Commercial for  Airbnb Setup: Step One to Guest One

If you have a home, you could have an Airbnb. And getting your place ready to Airbnb isn’t as complicated as you might think. Airbnb Setup makes getting from the first step, all the way through to your first guest pretty easy.  

ABOUT AIRBNB:

Every day, people Airbnb their homes offering unique stays and one-of-a-kind activities that make it possible for guests to experience the world in a more authentic, connected way.

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN: 

If you have a home you’re not always in, or an empty bedroom, or a camper you never use, or a guest house that you only sometimes use, then you have an Airbnb. Lots of people have spaces like these, they just don’t think of them as Airbnbs. Made in collaboration with Buck Animation, these films reveal the many potential Airbnbs all throughout a miniature world. 

AIRBNB YOUR HOME:

https://www.airbnb.com/host

Commercial for Aircover for Hosts 

If you have a home, you could have an Airbnb. And with AirCover for Hosts, all of your stuff is protected from all the little uh-oh’s. Always included and always free, Airbnb it with peace of mind. 

ABOUT AIRBNB:

Every day, people Airbnb their homes offering unique stays and one-of-a-kind activities that make it possible for guests to experience the world in a more authentic, connected way.

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN: 

If you have a home you’re not always in, or an empty bedroom, or a camper you never use, or a guest house that you only sometimes use, then you have an Airbnb. Lots of people have spaces like these, they just don’t think of them as Airbnbs. Made in collaboration with Buck Animation, these films reveal the many potential Airbnbs all throughout a miniature world. 

AIRBNB YOUR HOME:

https://www.airbnb.com/host

“Airbnb your home” button

Airbnb’s new commercials talk about “airbnbing your place”. To stay consistent,the Airbnb platform, the “List your property” button has been renamed “Airbnb your home”. 

The wording implies that Airbnb is, for the moment, focusing on people listing their primary and secondary homes. It also resonates with people listing private rooms on Airbnb.

Airbnb your home

Now, Airbnb may run into a problem when trying to internatiolize this campaign, as the verb “to airbnb” is not used as in many foreign languages. On the guest side, across the world, many people that they’ve booked an airbnb. Yet, not many languages have the same flexibility as English to turn nouns into verbs.

So, “Airbnb it” or “Airbnb your home” cannot be translated as is. For instance, this is what the “Airbnb your home” button looks like in French: It reads “mettre mon logement sur Airbnb” (Put my dwelling on Airbnb).

Mettre mon logement sur Airbnb

Conclusion

Airbnb Setup is a unique way for an online travel agent to lower the adoption barrier around getting started with hosting.

In a way, it not super scalable to ask humans to onboard other humans into an online marketplace. Airbnb makes the process optional: You can list your place straight away or ask a Superhost for help. A support team could also help, but it would not be the samekind of one-to-one relationship. Matching new hosts with Supherhosts helps create ties withing the Airbnb Host Community.

It would also be expensive for Airbnb to offer unlimited support via emploees, while giving bonuses to Superhosts who help a new listing welcome its first guests is cheaper. Such bonuses also create reasons for productive Superhosts to stay loyal to Airbnb and to act as a brand amabassadors.

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Rental Scale-Up

Thibault is the founder of Rental Scale-Up. He owns vacation rentals in St. Barths and Bali. He also leads innovative projects for companies within the vacation rental industry. Feel free to reach out to Thibaut Masson on Linkedin.

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