“Airbnb is founded on trust, and our vision depends on us continuing to increase this in our community.”

By Andrea Romano
November 07, 2019
Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images

In addition to its ban on "party houses," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky shared how the company is amping up its verification standards for the safety of both hosts and guests on the platform following the deadly shooting in Orinda, Calif.

“Airbnb is a business fueled by trust,” Chesky said in a company email that is now public. “When we started Airbnb in 2008, people said it would never work. ‘Strangers will never trust one another,’ they said. But we believed that people are fundamentally good and that we could design a system for strangers to trust one another.”

He continued, “But recently, events by bad actors on our platform took advantage of that trust, including at a home in Orinda, California. We intend to do everything possible to learn from these incidents when they occur.”

The exec and cofounder said the plan includes verifying all of the seven million listings that are currently on its site by accuracy (including photos, addresses, and details) and standards such as cleanliness, safety, and basic home amenities. This process is expected to be completed by December 15, 2020.

But beginning on December 15 of this year, Airbnb will also be rebooking guests in “a new listing of equal or greater value” or give their money back if a certain listing does not meet accuracy standards.

The company is also launching a 24/7 Neighbor Hotline so anyone (including hosts, guests, and neighbors of each property) can call the company any time if they have questions, concerns, or emergencies that is expected to launch in the U.S. on December 31, 2019 and will be global by next year.

In order to hire the best for their “rapid response team,” the company is being consulted by former police chiefs from departments in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and East Palo Alto. Airbnb will also be implementing a “manual screening of high-risk reservations,” for bookings of large groups of people and duration of the stay.

“With these additional protections, we will work together with our community of guests and hosts to reinforce the trust platform that we have built with our community,” Chesky concluded. “Airbnb is founded on trust, and our vision depends on us continuing to increase this in our community.”

In the case of the Orinda shooting, more than 100 people came to a party being thrown at an Airbnb rental home. Around 11 p.m. local time, there were several shots fired leading to the deaths of five people. The owner of the property told the San Francisco Chronicle that the guests who booked the home claimed it was for a “family reunion.”