Host endowment email from Airbnb 10/30/20

Sharing content from Brian Chesney’s Airbnb Announcement It’s a long read

Before I was an entrepreneur, I was a host. It all began on October 10, 2007 at an apartment on 19 Rausch Street in San Francisco. My roommate Joe and I were trying to pay our rent, and we opened our home to three guests attending a design conference—and became the first hosts on Airbnb. Soon after, our co-founder Nate joined us, and we created a way for anyone to be a host.

From the beginning, hosting was at the center of Airbnb. We went door-to-door meeting hosts, personally photographed hosts’ spaces, hosted meetups, and answered customer service calls from our cell phones. And over the last 13 years, as a host community, we’ve grown from two hosts at Rausch Street to 4 million hosts around the world.

Then the pandemic hit. When travel came to a standstill, we made the difficult decision to fully refund guests. While I believe this was the right thing to do, it had a significant impact on your bookings. Some of you were frustrated that we didn’t consult you before making the decision. Your frustration made me see the gap that had grown between us—we needed to get more connected to you.

In July, we established a Host Community team to help close the gap and ensure we stay more connected to you. Our first step was to listen. We held meetings with over 3,000 hosts around the world, and read countless emails and comments in the Community Center. We heard three things loud and clear:

  • You want to be treated as partners
  • You want more control over how you host
  • You want the tools to grow as a host

Out of these sessions came a series of actions.

First, to treat you as partners, we extended Superhost status for hosts who struggled to meet our cancellation or booking criteria. We also updated our extenuating circumstances policy to restrict when guests can cancel with you and get a full refund.

Second, to give you more control over how you host, we expanded our guest standards and made your house rules more visible—and we will hold guests accountable to honoring them.

Third, to provide you with tools to grow, we started sharing more insights into what guests are looking for. You have adapted. Millions of you, for example, have implemented the enhanced cleaning protocol.

These are just some of the many recent changes that we’ve made based on your feedback. We are not stopping here. Today, I want to look to our future, and tell you about where we would like to take our partnership.

You have turned hosting into so much more than a way to rent out your extra space. You’ve turned hosting into an art and a science, focusing on the small personal touches that make your guests feel special. You care for guests like family members visiting, and the connection you have with them lasts long after they leave. “I have made lifelong friends with people all over the world,” Dolly, a host in Broward County, Florida, told me.

As we prepare for Airbnb to become a public company, we want to institutionalize our commitment to hosting, and our investment in the host community. A couple years ago, we began asking ourselves, how can we make sure that even as Airbnb grows, hosts continue to share in our success? Since then, we’ve been hard at work on an idea that I am excited to share with you.

Introducing the Airbnb Host Endowment

I am thrilled to announce that we are creating the Airbnb Host Endowment. The Host Endowment is intended to provide support for our host community, now and for generations to come. We plan to seed the endowment with 9.2 million shares from Airbnb. We will start to invest the endowment in the host community once the value of the endowment exceeds $1 billion.

The endowment will provide support in areas including education, financial resources, and much more. With the Airbnb Host Endowment, we want you to share in our success—not merely at a single moment in time, but for as long as Airbnb exists.

Funds from the endowment will be allocated by Airbnb, with input from you. To make sure that you have a voice in how the Host Endowment is used, we are creating the Airbnb Host Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will present ideas from the host community for how the endowment is invested, and will suggest improvements for how to make Airbnb better. This means input from you will go directly to our leadership team when they make funding decisions. In addition, the Advisory Board will meet with Airbnb every month and share regular updates from these meetings back to you.

The Host Advisory Board will be as diverse as the host community itself—85% of you live outside of the U.S., and 55% of you are women. We will introduce members of the Advisory Board before the end of this year.

With these commitments, I’m confident that hosting will always be at the center of Airbnb, and our host community will share in our success.

It’s been a difficult year, but I’ve been inspired by how resilient you are, and how quickly you’ve adapted to the changing needs of guests. More importantly, I’ve been moved by your compassion. You are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. You have faith in others, and trust them enough to stay in the most personal of spaces—your own home.

At a time of unprecedented loneliness and disconnection, the role of a host now is more important than ever. Last month, I met with a host named Dorian from Oakland, California. Dorian is a jewelry designer, and she and her husband host guests in the extra bedrooms in their home. Their favorite part of hosting is meeting their guests and discovering the commonalities they share. Dorian told me, “I love the feeling that the world is not that large of a place after all.”

Thank you Dorian, and our 4 million hosts, for making this world feel smaller.

I’m proud to be a host alongside each of you.

Brian

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Not impressed, I would rather he sell/give us shares pre IPO

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Lots of words. Just words.

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Thank you @Annet3176

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Aye, even if hosts didn’t avail themselves of them, it would show better commitment than just another wanky trust/foundation.

Just more hot air from my perspective…

:balloon:

JF

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Thanks for posting. Skeptical here.

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Just got mine (email that is). I don’t even know how to start interpreting this. Sounds like lip service to me. Maybe he’s trying to show what a “woke” business leader he is, so in tune with the heart and sole of his company. Just saying…

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How we want to be treated is obvious. They are well-aware of it. Their actions indicate otherwise.

Very recently, Air Suspended many Host accounts. Their crime? They happened to have “event” or “party” somewhere in their listing or name. No one from Air reviewed things and communicated with the applicable hosts. Just one big automated action.

Oh yeah … they totally care … just not about Hosts.

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Feels like another empty, just for the media, gesture…another nice photo opportunity!
I wonder how many will partake of the lime koolaid.

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Unless I get something from them in the future via this fund, it doesn’t affect me at all.

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Dear Hosts,

We came up with 9 million dollars to amortize over 4 million hosts. What say you?

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There are hosts, the ones who feel that they are “partners” and have an emotional investment with Airbnb, who will be creaming themselves over this.

Cynical old sods like me, who use Airbnb to put heads on beds, and nothing else, know full well that I won’t see a brass farthing of all this alleged investment.

JF

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And there’s the other end of the spectrum where hosts are emotionally invested in hating on Airbnb for every little thing they do. Yet many refuse to take responsibility for their business by getting their own website or listing on other platforms.

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I think everyone who wants to stay in business should do this, to lessen the blow should they ever get ghosted by air for any reason.

RR

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I would exclude in-home hosts, but agree with you 100% as to the rest.

We see, on here, a regular procession of hosts disgruntled with Airbnb who proclaim loudly about how they’re delisting, yada yada.

If they’d spread their marketing across other platforms then there would be no need for the rant…

Anyone who trusts Airbnb solely with their STR is either just playing at it, or doesn’t need the money.

JF

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To dream the impossible dream… they did hear the message, anyway.

Haha. They’ve been telling hosts they “hear” us for years. Nothing changes. Words are cheap. This is just more PR for their IPO.

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And for many of us, we would have no STR business at all if not for Airbnb. They aren’t above criticism but there is a lot of whining that smacks of “biting the hand that feeds.”

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If the 9.2 million shares become worth 110$ a piece, which is pie in the sky or possibly not, the 1 billion endowment is going to be reached. Then they can start giving it to hosts…

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It sounds like when they start distributing it it’s going to be arbitrary like the host funds in the spring were. Education? Like what grants to do Airbnb experiences at reduced cost? LOL. “Financial resources?” Like low interest loans?

Like others, I’m skeptical. Why don’t they wait to announce something when they actually have it in hand, ready to launch?