Vacation rentals site Airbnb has pledged to verify every single property in its vast global inventory, in response to misleading listings and safety concerns.
The popular online portal, which has revolutionised travel lodgings since its launch in 2008, is planning to review every single home and host by December 2020. That sounds like a bold endeavour, considering the company is currently offering 7 million listings around the world.
In a series of tweets, Airbnb CEO Brian Cheske also pledged to refund guests if they can show their booked accommodation does not meet “accuracy standards” if another property that’s just as nice cannot be found. That policy will come into effect from December 15.
Also, the company is launching a 24/7 phone line to deal with customer service issues. He says it will enable “anyone can call us any time, anywhere in the world and reach a real person.”
This Halloween, a mass shooting at an Airbnb rental in California that saw more than 100 people descend upon a property with a maximum occupancy of 13. The company now says it would be clamping down on ‘party houses.’
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Chesky wrote: “I want to be clear — we are not infallible. We are a platform built on a foundation of trust. We need to continue innovating on trust to make it harder for the bad actors. The trust of our community is our top priority.”
Chesky also said the company was expanding its “manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our risk detection models,” which he says will help “stop unauthorised parties before they start.”
The vows come as Airbnb comes under increasing scrutiny following a Vice News report that uncovered a widespread problem pertaining to misleading or outright false listings on the site. The report, published last week, saw the FBI contact Vice over the claims in the article.