Is Airbnb moving into traditional landlords’ business?

Airbnb has amended its rules to allow users to search for stays up to 12 months (from six) and the platform is overtly linking this with announcements by many high profile companies –  including Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Company, PwC, and Amazon – that its staff can continue to work remotely in certain circumstances.

In addition, Airbnb says its users have clicked on the WiFi filter more than 288m times, so in response it is adding ‘Verified Wifi’ to property details, allowing hosts to test their listing’s internet connection from the Airbnb app and have their wifi speed authenticated.

Now, adding to that appeal to longer term renters, Airbnb is introducing something called Aircover for its hosts – it calls this “top-to-bottom protection, free for every host, only on Airbnb.”

On its UK website Airbnb says the cover offers the equivalent of US$1 million in damage protection.

This includes pet damage protection, and Airbnb tells its hosts “no need to worry, damage caused by four-legged guests is covered.”

It also has deep-cleaning protection (“We compensate you for unexpected cleaning costs, like removing cigarette odour if a guest smokes in your home” and income loss protection (“AirCover reimburses lost income if you cancel confirmed Airbnb bookings due to guest damage.”)

Even though some 20 per cent of Airbnb business is already stays of one month or longer and long-term stays have become the platform’s fastest-growing category, it is clear that they are directly challenging the traditionl rental model.



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