Is Airbnb beginning to listen to hosts, or is it all pre IPO fluff?

I used to like Airbnb, a lot. As both a guest from the early days, and as a host from around 2012 for a year or so.

Since we started hosting again three years ago, the difference between the Airbnb of those days and the Airbnb of now is marked. Guest centric decisions, useless CS, encouraging investor hosts, IT all over the place and a complete lack of support for the (in my opinion) backbone of the business, i.e. small time hosts.

Not all of these issues have affected us directly, but they are issues we don’t see with our two other OTA’s.

Fast forward to 2020 and the way Airbnb dealt with Covid was shambolic, which resulted in them having to seek external funding, just to keep the lights on.

I posted this a month or so ago:

Was the hiring of Catherine Powell, previously very successful with the Disney Corporation, as a result of external investors suggesting that Airbnb needs to get it shit together ?

Since she was hired we have seen:

  • A major overhaul of the EC policy, shifting the burden from hosts to guests.

  • A simplified fee/commission structure.

  • Active efforts to stop the “It’s an Airbnb for the night, let’s party” culture.

The latest update covers several items that bug hosts. She stated that they will be:

  • Changing the ambiguous post stay guest questions (discussed on here).

  • Increasing prominence of house rules, apparently moving them to top of listing

  • Looking into removing reviews from guest who break house rules (always a biggie on here!).

  • Turning potential (determined by algorithm) party IB’s to RTB, letting you decide.

So, are they now actually listening to hosts, and addressing hosts concerns, or is this just a major PR campaign prior to the IPO?

I think they might be listening, and if so, might even win me round. Maybe :grin:




Good post. You would think they would listen to hosts because No Hosts = No Guests!! We’ll see what happens


Since my business is dramatically reduced and will remain so for the awful upcoming winter I have little cause to know what Airbnb is doing. I haven’t really had any problems with them and don’t list on other platforms.

I do hope they remain in business and successful. I suspect that they can position themselves well during this downturn and be ready for the travel explosion that will come in 2022.


You mean the questions where the question is negative and the “good” answer is also a negative,
and the stupid wording like “Did each guest get 1 towel” and the guest answers “no” because each guest got 2 towels? LOL! I’m sure they paid top dollar for that work.


It’s being rolled out in different places at different times, but they have already added the House Rules right at the top of our listing description on mine and many other listings. Apparently the house rules are going to be mentioned in 4 places on our listings.

Re the updated EC- while it does make it harder for guests to cancel for bogus reasons, it also has eliminated hosts being able to cancel if they have some emergency. While Catherine Powell said in her video that we would still be able to, if it isn’t in black and white in the EC, that doesn’t inspire much confidence, IMO. Unless you can point out to a clueless CS rep the applicable policy for something, it’s still up to whatever rep you happen to get to convince them of this or that…

It does appear that there are changes being made, but I’ll have to see what Powell’s appointment will bring before singing her praises. The last head of hosting, Laura, accomplished absolutely nothing for hosts in her 2 year tenure. She just seemed to travel the world having “listening sessions”, putting out placating posts, and not acting on what was said.


Same here …20


I missed this. Is there a link?

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I wasn’t “singing her praises”, I was stating what has changed so far, and what she has said will change (or be reviewed) in the future. From our perspective, the changes to the EC and fee/commission structure are both positive moves.

The changes in respect of “party houses” doesn’t really affect us, we’re on site therefore any parties wouldn’t last long, unless of course they invited us :wink:

So far, we’ve never had a review that was sufficiently detrimental that we’d want it removed, in fact like many on here we haven’t actually had a bad review via Airbnb (that’s it, I’ve jinxed it now!). So those possible changes aren’t that important just now, but may be in the future.

Maybe the next major appointment will be someone to shake up the digital infrastructure…

Reach out, via the CC and voice your concerns.

I didn’t even know there was one!

I’m quick to highlight any deficiencies or glitches with Airbnb, but I also believe in giving credit where it’s due. I’m not doing cartwheels around our listings, but if she follows through on what she says, it is a positive for hosts.


Here’s the update:



That’s the public-facing position, and knowing that Gray Area tech culture, I’m sure that’s what they intend her to do. They always have the sales folks who promise everything, the tech crew who tries to keep the promises, and the schmoozer of angry customers when they can’t.


Oh, I wasn’t accusing you of doing any such thing. I said I wasn’t going to sing her praises yet.

When she first assumed that position, as someone who is pretty active on the CC, she messaged me asking if I’d care to discuss host issues via phone call. I had a one hour long conversation with her, and brought up a lot of things that hosts get upset about, like outlier reviews allowed to stand, the way Airbnb just changes things around on their site without notifying us and without explanation of where they have now hidden things, etc, etc.

She agreed that all the things we talked about needed to be addressed and changed, and I had the impression she would work to make things better for hosts,yet not even one of those things changed. So this time, I’ll believe Miss Disney when I start to see positive changes, rather than feel-good rhetoric.


Great post but in my experience it has been the other way around: after Covid i feel airbnb has doubled down on siding with guests.


Airbnb doesn’t have a lot of choice. The P&L doesn’t look good. Keep the money coming in. If the hosts have put up with it this long, then they will continue. There is always someone out there who is convinced that hosting is passive income, and easy money.


This is a key change that I personally appreciate. If Airbnb backs us up on enforcing the house rules, I will be very pleased, indeed.


Hello! Ok, I only do this part-time and not at all since Covid came around, but I had to look up all these abbreviations and when IB’s to RTB stood for Inflammatory Bowel’s to Rural Telephone Bank on the acronyms page, I figured I might ask? Please don’t throw anything at me—


IB is instant book and RTB is request to book.


PR, IMO, CS, IPO, IT, OTA (recently learned) OK but what is EC?


Extenuating Circumstances.