This is now a yearly tradition: In the early days of January, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky turned to Twitter and asked: ” If Airbnb could launch anything in 2022, what would it be?”. The suggestions made are interesting. But Airbnb watches will especially take notice of the tweets to which Brian Chesky replied, sometimes with hints at something coming up soon. Now, it is not because the CEO says so that something happens. Also, some Twitter users pointed to past promises and announcements that have never materialized.
What should Airbnb launch in 2022 – On the Host side
On the host side, Twitter users have shared suggestions about new services that could be introduced for hosts. Let’s see which ones got the most interesting reactions from Brian Chesky.
Suggest hosts what amenities to add to make more money
Platforms like Airbnb have a lot of data that enable them to make comparisons and suggestions. For example, competitor Booking.com has a quality rating for apartments and homes which compares the best amenities for properties and scores them according to the location (e.g. air conditioning is a plus in California, not in Greenland). Booking.com’s quality rating page then suggests to property owners a series of items missing before they can reach a higher quality rating level (e.g. bathrobe, slippers).
This is what this Airbnb user is suggesting. More art on the walls may be a tougher thing to suggest, but items like bathrobes, based on what the best properties around offer, could be easy to suggest.
A marketplace or Airbnb store to help Airbnb hosts find the right supplies for their property.
This is not known to many, but Airbnb actually already gives hosts access to supply providers. These offers appeared when Airbnb launched its Enhanced Cleaning initiative. Partners such as Lysol propose product bundles to Airbnb hosts here: https://www.airbnb.com/progress/cleaning/supplies-and-services
More visible last-minute discounts
In a way, last-minute pricing already exists: If Airbnb hosts use Smart Pricing, then Airbnb will lower their prices if demand is low. Using rule sets, Airbnb hosts with multiple properties can also create pricing rules that create last-minute discounts. What Chesky likes here could be grouping the offers per location, to better merchandise last-minute deals on Airbnb.
What should Airbnb launch in 2022 – On the Guest side
Suggestions on the guest side have been numerous. Let’s see which recurring topics were noticed by Brian Chesky.
Cleaning: More transparent on fees and cleaning service frequency questions
Airbnb hosts know that cleaning is a big topic for them and for their guests. One of the most frequent issues with cleaning is that travelers feel that there is not enough transparency on the cleaning fee side. They also think that cleaning fees can be excessive.
On Rental Scale-Up, we’ve dealt several times with the topic of Airbnb cleaning fees:
- The ridiculous debate about Airbnb’s cleaning fees, where we explained how Twitter users got enraged about high cleaning fees, from a dubious screenshot shared by an adult performer
- Why Airbnb cleaning fees have increased by more than 33% during the pandemic, where we explained that users were paying higher fees as they were booking larger places and in less urban areas than before the pandemic
- How much should you pay your vacation rental cleaners? was one of the most read articles on our site in 2021, which shows that property owners and managers care about the topic too.
It is a bit of an endless debate, as users new to vacation rentals have sometimes a hard time understanding that there is a cleaning fee (not at a hotel), that it can be expensive (a house is a big thing to clean up), and that a cleaning fee cannot always be absorbed into the price per night when the length of stay varies.
Brian Chesky even looked motivated to work on the cleaning frequency topic for long stays:
Airbnb needs to be better address family and complex travel
Airbnb’s competitor Vrbo has clearly positioned itself as the champion of family and complex travel. For instance, Vrbo uses its Trip Boards feature to make it for groups of travelers to save and share properties, as well as to vote on their favorite one, which helps in the decision-making phase.
Twitter users would like Airbnb to be better at dealing with complex travel requests, from finding properties that are toddler-friendly to being able to book several nearby properties for a family reunion.
More than short-stays: Yearly subscriptions for digital nomads and longer stays
Airbnb’s mission statement is more than just about travel:
Airbnb has for long been used digital nomads, but the company has been courting them more overtly since remote working has risen from the fringe.
Airbnb has emphasized its appetite to capture more monthly stays, even its actual number of long-stay room nights looks stagnant.
Airbnb, fulfill your past promises (Superguest Program, Travel Insurance and Verified Properties)
Some Twitter users have seized the occasion to remind Airbnb and Brian Chesky of promises made but not fulfilled. Fair enough, this is what you get when you open such a public forum.
For instance, in February 2018, Airbnb announced the upcoming launch of its guest loyalty program called Superguest:
Yet, in 2022, not such a program has launched, while Booking.com is doubling down on its Genius guest loyalty program. This is what a Twitter user called out Brian Chesky on the topic:
Airbnb has recently overhauled its Host Guarantee and launched AirCover. On the guest side, it works in the US with TripInsurance to provide 3rd-party travel insurance. But this is still far from what Brian Chesky hinted at in 2020, as an aftermath of the massive booking cancellations due to COVID-19. It looks like we may be something new coming out soon on the travel insurance side:
A Twitter user reminded Brian Chesky of his promise to review all Airbnb listings by December 15, 2020. Note that Airbnb’s IPO date was coincidentally December 10, 2020. The IPO happened, but it is not clear where Airbnb is standing with its verified listings project.
Brian Chesky going to Twitter to ask what needs to be launched is not just a PR exercise. Some ideas may be picked up by some Airbnb terms. Obviously, these ideas will also have to go through the usual validation and testing process before they go live on the website.
Brian Chesky not only asks but also reacts. It aligns with his style of directly talking to Airbnb users, on the host and the guest side. This is something not much seen at other travel companies, where the CEOs tend to be a bot more anonymous.