News of how one of Airbnb’s hosts had her home completely vandalized and burglarized went viral late last month. It seemed to be almost an inevitability and consequence of placing too much trust to complete strangers for the care of your own home. Who in the right mind would simply rent out their place to a random stranger just to make a quick buck? The anonymity of the Internet reared its ugly head, turning one victim’s life upside down.
In the aftermath, people directed their attention to the folks at Airbnb, rightfully pinning the blame on lax security restrictions on how it determines who stays at your place. After first publicly apologizing on Techcrunch, CEO Brian Chesky promised to do better. So far, he’s kept his word. On August 1st, the company announced their $50,000 guarantee against any damages/loss incurred by a host during a guest’s stay. In addition, the company increased its support staff to now offer a 24-hour customer hotline as well as a dedicated staff responsible for reviewing listings for suspicious activity.
Two days later, the company announced new verification options for profiles to help users build their reputation and validate their identity. For instance, you can now connect your profile to your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. Furthermore, profile pictures can now be easily taken using a built-in tool called Photobooth.
Most recently last Friday, Airbnb revealed that it had implemented three ideas users voted for in their Suggestion Box. They include: allowing hosts to require guests to have a profile picture, declining guests without it affecting your search ranking, and allowing hosts to write guest reviews.
Despite a rocky initial response, Airbnb has done superb in its continued effort to make their service safer and secure. If you have an idea on how to make Airbnb better, head over to their Trust and Safety Center and suggest or vote for a current idea.