The Community Center, Dynamic Pricing, and much more – John Bower summarizes the announcements you need to know about.
“It’s crazy to be here in front of so many hosts,” exclaims Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, as he opens the first day of the Airbnb Open 2015 in Paris.
“I remember the first meet up here … in the backroom of a bar with just 30 people, so it’s amazing to be here today.”
5100+ hosts from 110 nationalities descended on Paris for an electric opening day, where the Airbnb team exclusive announced a number of new products and initiatives in an effort to continue supporting the huge number hosts worldwide.
“We’ve grown a lot as a community,” explains CTO Nate Blecharczyk, “There are now two million homes listed on Airbnb, covering 191 countries.”
Joe “Joebot” Zadeh, VP of Product told the audience “I host so that I can stay close to the joy and challenges that hosting brings.”
“Technology will never be able to provide one thing,” he continued, “And that is a human experience.” Joebot went on to reveal 35% of guests that have great first experience with a host are more likely to stay with another host. This demonstrates that we really are all in this together – and the products launched today reflect that.
New Airbnb Products
Launching today, hosts in 20 cities around the world will have access to the new ‘Community Centre’ – the long-fabled replacement for the ‘groups’ many of us know and love. The new platform is centered around three core principles:
- Help hosts communicate with other hosts
- Help hosts to find relevant information, fast.
- Ensure that all questions are heard by the Airbnb team.
What can you expect? The new Activity Page will let you find and search every topic, letting you quickly find the answer to your question. The Announcements Board will allow hosts to send feedback directly to Airbnb, and will be used as the centre for support – where the team will announce new features, and provide updates to ongoing support issues.
In just a few weeks we will see the addition of an instant messaging platform, allowing hosts to communicate with on another directly. Early next year the development team will release new tools to assist hosts in organizing meet ups.
Head to community.airbnb.com for all of the latest information.
Airbnb Dynamic Pricing
It has long been the job of third-party applications to provide a competitive pricing model for hosts – but the product team unveiled a dynamic pricing tool today. All you have to do is set your upper and lower limits, then press go – the tool does the rest of the work for you. The price is calculated using a number of factors (your location, the amenities you provide, your reservation history etc), and then the calendar displays the planned prices.
Pro Tip from LearnAirbnb: We’ve consistently heard from hosts all over the world that the Airbnb’s built in pricing tends to under price their listings. Not too surprising considering their platform may be optimizing the pricing to increase the overall total number of bookings, rather than to maximize the profits of any particular listing. To get profit optimized dynamic pricing, we’d recommend you check out Wheelhouse.
The Listing Toolkit
Aimed at new hosts, the Listing Toolkit will provide examples of real-life best practices and provide newbies with resources for hosting. This is not just your basic information on how to host – we have been promised that the team are “rewriting the book on hospitality”.
The toolkit has been released today in English and French – with other languages being rolled out from early next year.
Host Mentors Program
Along with the Listing Toolkit, Airbnb today announced their Host Mentors program. This promises a playbook of what to do – passed on, one-on-one, from experienced hosts.
The program will match a mentor with a new host – connecting the two over email, for 30 days of email support. The role of mentor is to make sure there are no “silly” or “small” questions left on the table. For Every 10 mentorships completed, Airbnb will credit the mentor with $250 travel credit so that they can experience the platform as a guest.
Changes to Booking Requests
The product team today announced that they will require guests to upload a photo of their face (and their software verifies it is a face!), attached to each booking request. Potential guests will also be shown the house rules in a pop-up before booking, to ensure that they are read and understood.
“Sometimes, as hosts, we are misunderstood.” Brian Chesky said, closing his keynote speech.
“People say ‘I don’t want people in my neighborhood, I don’t want people in my building’,” he continued, “What they miss is that it’s not about our spaces, it’s about you, it’s about me – it isn’t about a house, it’s about a home.”
Read the Airbnb Open Day 2 Coverage: Be A Better Host
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Reporting on the Airbnb Open for LearnAirbnb is done by John Bower of Pearlshare. Pearlshare is a free app for iPhone and iPad that makes sharing places with your guests quick and simple. Save all your favorite places – restaurants, bars, places to get breakfast – and all the details your guests will need to find and book are shared in just a few taps. Download Pearlshare from the App Store: https://pearlsha.re/download