Airbnb’s Enhanced Security: Comprehensive Identity Verification

Thibault Masson

Updated on:

Airbnb has announced an important security update that intensifies its identity verification process for hosts and guests alike. The move, set to be fully implemented by the end of June 2023, aims to augment trust within the platform’s community, ensuring that all users are verifiably who they say they are.

Identity Verification Process

The identity verification procedure involves matching user-provided information, such as a government-issued ID (like a driver’s license, passport, or a national identity card), with the details given by the user at the time of account creation. This process could include a selfie, which is cross-verified with the photo on the government ID.

In the U.S., a user’s Social Security number may also be part of the identity verification process. The provided information is matched against secure third-party databases, thus adding another layer to the security protocol.

Impact on User Profiles

Once a user has successfully undergone the verification process, an “identity verified” badge appears on their Airbnb profile. This badge serves as a testament to the authenticity of the user’s identity, adding to the credibility and trustworthiness of their profile.

Considerations for Professional Businesses

For professional businesses with multiple Airbnb hosting accounts, the “identity verified” badge may not appear on all connected accounts, even after one of them has been verified. This detail is important to keep in mind, as a lack of badge doesn’t necessarily indicate an unverified account.

Data Handling and Privacy

Airbnb has asserted that it will handle all government ID processing in accordance with its privacy policy. This move is intended to respect local laws and provide users with additional guidance about uploading an ID, ensuring that sensitive user data is managed securely and responsibly.

While the company acknowledges that no identification process is completely foolproof, it maintains that these verification measures are a critical step towards building and maintaining trust within the Airbnb community on a global scale

Defining the Role of the Primary Host

The identity verification update has key implications for the role of the primary host on Airbnb. The primary host is the main point of contact for a listing, appearing as the host on the listing, trip requests, and reservations.

Types of Primary Hosts

  1. Listing Owner: Typically, this is the individual who owns or resides in the property that’s listed on Airbnb.
  2. Full-Access Co-Host: This can be a friend, family member, or a hired individual who assists in managing the property. A full-access Co-Host can also be designated as the primary host.
  3. Hosting Team: A hosting team is a business or group of people who manage listings on behalf of the listing owner. In this case, the account owner of the hosting team is always designated as the primary host.

Implications of Guest Reviews

Guest reviews directly impact the primary host, especially if they are also the listing owner. These reviews are visible on their profile and can influence their Superhost status. Co-Hosts, on the other hand, aren’t affected by guest reviews on their profiles, and their Superhost status remains untouched. For hosting teams, everyone on the team receives notifications related to the trip request, but the reviews only appear on the profile of the listing owner.

Importance of Verification for Primary Hosts

With Airbnb’s new security update, primary hosts who have not completed the verification process by the end of June 2023 will have their booking calendars blocked, preventing them from accepting further bookings. The implementation of this more robust verification process serves to further build trust and confidence within the Airbnb community, reinforcing the idea that hosts are who they claim to be.

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