On Tuesday, voters in New Jersey approved restrictions on short-term rental companies in a referendum in one of Airbnb’s most important markets.
In an email sent to employees on Wednesday, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said the company will take its most significant steps to improve trust since its founding in 2008.
“People need to feel like they can trust our community and that they can trust Airbnb when something goes wrong,” Chesky wrote.
As part of the changes, Airbnb says it will verify all listings on its platform for accuracy of photos, address and other details. Quality standards, including cleanliness, safety and basic amenities will also be verified.
Those that meet company expectations will be labelled, and the company confirmed that every listing will be reviewed by December 15, 2020.
If a property doesn’t meet its accuracy standards, guests will be rebooked to a new listing or have their money refunded.
The company will also expand manual checks of “high-risk” reservations flagged by its system to cut down on unauthorised parties. One-night reservations at large homes will receive extra scrutiny.
The company will also launch a 24-hour hotline over the course of the next year, which will be staffed by a rapid response team in the US so neighbours, guests and others can report a problem.
Charles Ramsey, the former chief of police for Philadelphia and Washington, and Ronald Davis, the former chief of police for East Palo Alto, California, have been asked to act as advisers and help train the response team.
The company is under some pressure to improve its reputation as it eyes an initial public offering next year.
“Most hosts do a great job, but guests need to feel like Airbnb has their back, and we believe this commitment is a necessary step in giving guests peace of mind,” Chesky wrote.