Airbnb's Newest Pilot Program to Answer Transparency Issues

September 23, 2020
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Airbnb has been in the hot seat over safety and regulations more than once. Countries across the world have argued its validity and its the bane of most hoteliers’ existences. 

In a move to answer these issues, the short-term rental company has launched a pilot program called Airbnb City Portal. 

The program has been opened to 15 global cities and tourism agencies as a test run. With this program, municipal staff receive access to:

  • Data about listings, including local laws
  • Direct connected to a dedicated staff member of Airbnb for assistance 

For local tourism agencies and officials, the program will:

  • Provide visitor information, including city of origin and demographic information
  • See guest information, like city of origin, economic impact, host income, and in some cases data-sharing
  • Downloadable resorts on approximate location of units and activity within them

For city officials, the program allows for easy reporting on listings so that hosts who violate local laws are more easily found out and punished. 

One source of contention with Airbnb is the impact that app has on local industries and economies. Airbnb finally has an answer for this ongoing problem with this new pilot program. Airbnb City Portal can run analysis to detect the impact Airbnb has on the local housing market.

Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Senior VP for Global Policy and Communications, explained:

“Cities will have the ability to map and see who’s making money, how much they’re making, and where they’re located.

“Democratic governments have the power to set the law and to enforce the right policies. What we learned as a platform is our obligation is to make sure cities have the ability to effectively do that.”

Davide Proserpio, a USC researcher focused on digital travel platforms, commented on the effort Airbnb has been displaying with the development and implementing of this pilot program.

“I think Airbnb is making an effort to be more transparent and this led to several partnerships with cities across the world.

“There is evidence suggesting that such partnerships allowed cities to implement short-term-rentals-specific taxes that led to a substantial increase in city revenues. However, when it comes to data-sharing there is still a lot to do, and so far only a few cities were able to obtain detailed data from Airbnb.”

The program will be able to allocate local laws and regulations to stay within the parrameteres of each individual city’s rules, especially when it comes to the controversy of data-sharing.

September 23, 2020
Victoria has been writing about property portals and marketplace sites for Online Marketplaces for over 3 years. She is also our resident artist and is responsible for all of the infographic content on the site.

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