Airbnb Aims to Make 'Airbnb for Everyone' - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Airbnb has enacted a massive plan for expansion. Over the next 10 years, the roadmap puts 1 billion annual guests on the platform by 2028. Currently, the offerings are shared spaces, private rooms or you can rent the entire home, but the goal is to now include vacation homes, unique spaces, B&B (bed-and-breakfast) and boutiques.

Initially, the company targeted the solo traveler, but have found that customers have had different needs, including places to cook, wanting extra space or adventurers who are seeking out an offbeat path. To meet these needs, Airbnb has come up with Collections, which include Airbnb for Family and Work. The objective is to allow customers to book for social stays, weddings, honeymoons, group getaways and dinner parties. This feature will be launched later this year.

Additionally, the company is offering Airbnb Plus. These homes have been personally verified for quality and comfort. This rollout includes 2,000 homes in 13 different cities. This feature is intended for customers who are looking to have a guaranteed quality experience.

If that isn’t enough, the company is taking it one step further with Luxury Retreats. As of last year, an acquisition was made that turned into Beyond by Airbnb offering the finest of custom-designed trips that will roll out this spring.

With all the upgrades to the app, we are left to wonder one thing. Has the company upgraded in terms of how they deal with diversity and inclusiveness on the platform so that it is actually indeed “for everyone” as their new slogan states? They say, yes.

“The hope in the rollout of all of these different elements was to demonstrate that we have a cohesive approach to making Airbnb for everyone,” stated Margaret Richardson, director of Policy Development. “My first project at Airbnb was the anti-discrimination efforts. I started outside and then joined the company in the middle of the efforts to address that anti-discrimination was a part of the community commitment that we rolled out and we’ve had a 97% acceptance rate.”

“What we have seen is that, among our staff, we’ve been able to diversify the team that we have internal to Airbnb and continue our commitment of diversity to both hosts and guests, that we’ve really made progress,” Richardson continued. “We have continued to invest in the team that focused on anti-discrimination on our platform, we have marque partnerships with groups like the NAACP, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Human and Rights and we are continuing to make sure that we are leaders both in the technology world and in the travel and tourism world going forward.”

Airbnb host Pamellah, Nairobi Kenya, Co-founder, Brian Chesky (Image: Airbnb)

Airbnb host Pamellah, Nairobi, Kenya, Co-founder, Brian Chesky Keynote (Image: Airbnb)

 

“The company made specific commitments that they would get to 11% in terms of internal diversity by the end of 2017. We surpassed that but, we still understand that that’s not enough,” stated Janaye Ingram, director of National Partnerships, to Black Enterprise. “There is a lot of opportunities and a lot of things that we are looking at examining to do better to make sure that we are creating a pipeline of qualified talent that can come in and do both technical and non-technical roles.” 

“We are working with a lot of groups this year as the beginning of the Bed and Breakfast and the Boutique hotel rollout is happening,” mentioned Cammy Houser, Traditional Hospitality program manager. “I have gotten into some really interesting conversations about supporting underrepresented minority owners and we’re really trying to think hard about how these businesses can thrive on Airbnb.”

 

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Sequoia Blodgett

Sequoia Blodgett is a Reporter for Black Enterprise. She is also the founder of Commas, a virtual entrepreneurship resource center with that provides everything you need to know about product, marketing, publicity, and fundraising, to make your entrepreneurial journey a lot less stressful.


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