One of the founders of Airbnb has indicated that the home-sharing platform is to return to its roots and distance itself from the thousands of professional landlords who use it to rent out multiple properties.
In an interview with The Sunday Times over the weekend, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (pictured) admits that the short-lets platform has ‘made mistakes’, ‘drifted’ and that it needs to think through its impact on communities and cities.
Chesky says during the interview that “Airbnb needs to change. We need to go back to basics — to what really made us successful in the first place”.
He has also committed to a ‘serious audit’ of the of who can or cannot list properties on Airbnb and that large landlords with corporate-style portfolios will be removed, and that hosts will be graded based on how corporate or homespun they are likely to be.
Chesky also says he intends to offer cities Airbnb data to help with the regulation of their short-lets markets, which will mean landlords will find it harder to stay outside regulation.
This is all perilous talk when there is plenty of evidence to show that a majority of hosts on his platform have two or more properties and that much of its growth has come from multi-property landlords in recent years.
But it is clear that the Covid pandemic, which saw Airbnb shelve its stock market flotation in the US and Chesky lose out on a £3 billion personal valuation, has made him re-evaluate the platform’s direction.