Fun + Unique Airbnb News, January ’2012 min read

airbnb news January 2020

Want Airbnb news? Look no further. I’ve done the legwork of reading countless headlines and articles to bring you the most relevant and interesting. I unabashedly ignore news related to temporary annoyances like overly restrictive city regulations, supposed housing crises and topics-of-the-day like hidden cameras. This post covers fun, interesting, and unique news from January 2020.

Tremendous Airbnb 2020 Update; Peerspace for unique productions; Airbnb's latest AI tool; Product discounts for hosts; The agglomeration effect. Click To Tweet

2020 Airbnb Update 

“We’re committed to supporting all stakeholders in the Airbnb community.” – Brian Chesky

Chesky has his priorities in order. He gets it. The circle of trust. 

For the platform to thrive, the host must be fully-supported. A well-equipped host will consistently deliver an exceptional guest experience. Guests carry the responsibility of consideration for the communities in which they explore. It’s crucial for these locals natives to feel respected.  Only then can they understand the benefit of Airbnb and foster a welcoming atmosphere for Airbnb. 

“It’s a virtuous circle: for many towns and villages, these revenues create new opportunities to develop their attractiveness, with long-term benefits for both local families and businesses.” 

As of today, hosts in 220 countries have earned over $80 Billion.

Take a look at the activity over the holidays. 

  • 10.4 million Guest arrivals in Airbnb listings during Chrismas Week (12/24- 12/31)
  • 80% of Guests on New Year’s Eve stayed in listings outside the US. 
  • 63% increase from last year in the number of Tokyo’s New Years’ Eve guests.
  • 11,000 Guests stayed in tiny houses; 
  • 2,700 in castles;
  • 1,300 in treehouses;
  • 1,000 in yurts.

Airbnb’s significant investments in 2020:

  • Improved technology platform. 
  • Building out and marketing new initiatives and offerings
  • HotelTonight acquisition
  • Airbnb Luxe, 
  • Airbnb Plus, 
  • Airbnb China 

Building Trust

$150 million has been allocated for new safety tools & policies to protect Hosts & Guests.

  • Now with the Guest Guarantee, if a guest is unsatisfied upon check-in, Airbnb will assist in finding them new accommodations or offer a full refund.
  • To stop guests from throwing unauthorized parties, Airbnb has implemented automated systems to manually screen for red flags and detect suspicious reservations. There are plans to expand this method across the global market. As of now, this high-tech vetting runs in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The Neighborhood Support Line is live in the US! 

Grab the US number here at The rest of the world is expected to receive this 24/7 real-time assistance within the year.

Keep your space party-free

Look no further. Just below are the Airbnb host discounts for the top noise detecting devices. Hurry! These offers expire April 1st, 2020, and are valid while supplies last.


Product offer: $99 ($50 off the regular price $149). Offer valid while supplies last.

Subscription price: FREE for a single listing. 


Product offer: $149 (25% off the regular price $199). 


Product offer: $39 (regular price $165).

I conducted thorough research on noise detection devices when I began hosting 100% remotely.

Here’s my article all about noise monitoring for your listing.

Airbnb + Real Estate

We can expect to see the company become increasingly chummy with the real estate industry. This month, Airbnb proudly revealed a partnership with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC). And, January kicked off with the hiring of Jesse Stein as Global Head of Real Estate.

“Jesse joins Airbnb from KHP Capital, a real estate private equity firm focused on investments in boutique and independent hotels, and has deep expertise in sourcing and executing development projects including hotel, timeshare, residential, and fractional assets. Jesse will oversee Airbnb’s strategy to create new supply and growth opportunities through real estate development projects and partnerships.”

Promoting Healthy Travel

Airbnb circa 2020 is wild.

No, but really. Now there’s such a thing as Airbnb Sabbaticals.

One can venture out into the wild for the greater good. The program was designed to support eco-tourism and sustainability. Last year, a group of five was sent to “Antarctica to assist British environmental scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams with her ground-breaking research on microplastics — and their potential pollution of Earth’s last great wilderness”.

Airbnb describes these historical opportunities with the phrase “Travel with Purpose”.

You can apply now for the upcoming  Bahamas Sabbatical, a hands-on opportunity to replenish coral reefs, support Bahamian agriculture, and assist with sustainable fishing.

Airbnb has taken an active position in combating over-tourism. Multiple programs have been implemented to promote respect for local culture and the environment. Additionally, we are seeing an increase in guests traveling during off-peak periods. 

Global Economic Impact in 2018:

$100 billion was rendered by the Airbnb community across 30 countries in 2018 

$25 billion spent worldwide by Airbnb guests dining out during travel in 2018

Experiences Around the World

40,000 Airbnb Experiences are available all over the world. 

Unique experiences are led by local city connoisseurs. Each offering is designed to involve guests in various cultural activities.

The Airbnb Experiences biz is booming! The number of guest booking experiences over the holiday week (December 24 to December 31, 2019)  doubled from the same time period in 2018.

 And, 2019 brought the addition of fun, new stand-alone categories, Cooking Experiences & Airbnb Adventures.

The Olympics 

Hosting the World. Airbnb has scored a partnership with the Summer 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Locals will have the chance to provide Airbnb accommodations to an assortment of international guests.  Authentic Tokyo explorations and cultural activities will be available via Airbnb Experiences. Olympians themselves are preparing to offer training sessions and day trips.

“We expect that this partnership will generate hundreds of thousands of new Hosts over nine years, giving community residents the opportunity to earn extra income by providing accommodation and local experiences to visiting fans, athletes and other members of the Olympic Movement.”

Working with Cities

In the last four years, the world-wide Airbnb host community paid out a total of $2 billion in tourism associated taxes to local governments.

The United States, Europe, Latin America, and Canada all have Voluntary Tax Collection arrangements within their local jurisdictions.

Airbnb remitted €58 million in tourist tax to French cities in 2019, more than twice the amount collected and remitted to French cities in 2018 (€24 million).

In addition to tax collection, Airbnb works closely with individual cities to develop specific solutions. They are counseling city officials and have created systems that allow guests to register with a city through the app. 

This degree of support has been implemented in Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, Seattle, and Hamburg. To name a few.

Click here to learn more about their work with different communities around the world.

Airbnb sues Miami partner in branded apartments concept

Luxury condos bearing the recognizable Airbnb logo were designed for home-sharing accommodations.  Partnering with scaleable residential developments was projected to be an essential initiative for Airbnb’s big IPO year. So significant that Airbnb invested $11 million into a project with Newgard Development Group (NDG). 

NDG was going to build, design, and operate the Airbnb ready apartments. More than a dozen buildings were contracted to be up and running in 2019. 

Well, it’s 2020, and not a single high-rise has been built. Instead, Airbnb discovered evidence of fraud, including back-dated records and clear traces of embezzlement. Apparently, NDG’s president, Harvey Hernandez, has a history of legal troubles with his real estate affairs. Shout out to Airbnb’s highly-skilled financial team. I assume they are responsible for uncovering the fraudulent activity. Can’t get any bologna past them. They are a solid group. 

  “In its suit filed on Thursday, Airbnb demanded its investment be returned in full, as well as unspecified punitive damages and costs.”   

I was happy to hear that Airbnb has not abandoned the hybrid real estate concept. Surely, they don’t need NDG to make it happen. I imagine that dozens of qualified suitors are prepared to execute a project of this size. The original story was reported by Financial Times. 


Evaluating Peerspace, the Airbnb of Photo/Video Studio Spaces

What is PeerSpace? : A marketplace offering creative workspaces available for rent by the hour.

Read my thoughts on Peerspace.

Who is it for: Anyone who needs a short-term location for photography, video shoots, events, or off-site team meetings. 

How do you become a host: Getting started is plug and go! All you need to set-up your listing is a description, your proposed rules, and at least four stunning, high-resolution photos, proof of ownership or permission from the owner. Their active host community forum is where helpful discussions about sharing your unique space can be had.

How does it differ from Airbnb? No sleepovers. Airbnb caters to trips and travel. Peer Space exposes professionals to a variety of distinctive locations available by the hour to “meet, create, and celebrate.”

Add-ons: The latest feature truly sets them apart from Airbnb. “Add-ons” are now available during the booking process. Hosts are encouraged to provide additional goods and services for purchase. Some examples of an add-on for your space could be furniture rentals, a coffee bar, or an industry make-up artist.

Take-aways: Peerspace is a service that reduces time and friction. They do a splendid job of connecting individuals & professionals to the perfect location for exclusive projects. One can directly pinpoint their desired location and score the ideal price for their budget. 

Start the process by reading my article  How to make your Airbnb “Event Ready.”

Are neighbors friends or foes? Assessing the agglomeration effect for Airbnb listings

An agglomeration or dense cluster of Airbnb listings in New York City was the main focus of a recent study by Cornell scholars.

In their research, they looked at a pocket of Airbnb listings that are located within close proximity to one another and asked two key questions.

  1. Does agglomeration benefit or hurt the performance of individual Airbnb listings? 
  2. How does the effect of agglomeration vary by hosts regarding their operational experience (measured by their capacity and tenure on Airbnb)?

Can a listing do well if it’s competing with multiple Airbnbs in the same vicinity? 

Think about STRs in year-round attraction zones like DisneyWorld. There’s plenty of options for guests to book. NYC is also nonstop and welcomes visitors in every season, from all over the world. 

I would guess that the caliber and experience of a host ought to contribute to performance.

The results

  1. “The level of agglomeration is positively associated with an Airbnb’s RevPAN. For each 10% increase of Airbnb supply in the neighborhood, the RevPAN of a listing would increase by 1.27%. “.

Hold for a second. What is RevPAN? 


Revenue per available night. 

It’s a metric used in the STR industry to demonstrate performance. The formula takes your rental income then divides it by your open nights.

According to the research reported, the host gained success as Airbnbs listings continued pop-up in the same neck of the woods.

Although, it doesn’t work when the same host doubles down on multiple Airbnb spaces in the area. When that host manages more listings in the neighborhood, “the positive effect of agglomeration will decrease.”

What the study also found was that seasoned hosts who are in it for the long game will benefit from the agglomeration effect. 

They’re talking about that level 3 host. You know who you are!

Airbnb introduces trait analyzer software for guests’ compatibility

After coming off a previous year of parties gone wild and claims, you bet Airbnb is making safety and security priority number one.  

Yes, there’s always been the 1,000,000 Host Guarantee that covers guests after the damage. But, before now, not much was in place to prevent high-risk ragers from gaining access in the first place.

Enter Airbnb’s newest AI technology. Trait analyzer software is designed to predict bad behavior before it begins. 

“The company will make use of the data to predict customers’ actions if they decide to book a short-term stay at one of its listed properties to see if they are mutually compatible. At the same time, this information will be cross-referenced with any other accounts and details, including social media, employment, and education history.”

I reached out to a handful of successful Superhosts to find out if they were ok with this level of vetting guest. None of them were aware of the news, so I was able to catch their first reactions. 

I chatted with a host from Alaska who wrote, “I feel like, on the one hand, it’s Big Brother, you know? Like scanning the interwebs for any sort of indication that the guest could be a sketch ball.

On the other hand, I do this when I get a booking from a new person to Airbnb or someone that maybe doesn’t have any reviews. 

I personally will go and scour the internet to see if I can find anything. I have a little more faith in my detective skills. I do not do this for every single guest, but if I have a feeling, I will. 

Having said that, I have little faith in this because it’s new. 

Airbnb seems to be making a lot of adjustments if they are beneficial to both guests and hosts. 

I will support it, but I know that they’re not going to be able to catch every screwball.” 

The next host was hoping that Airbnb would share more details.

“Not knowing exactly how the software works or how it’s being implemented is a big question mark for me. I’m not comfortable with excluding guests unnecessarily.”

The concern was that technical errors could potentially discard guests that actually don’t pose a threat.

Then, I spoke with Coleman Washbrook, operator of @edmontonairbnb, a collection 5-star listings in Alberta, Canada.

His immediate response was optimistic, “I like AI technology. I like that Airbnb is spending time, energy, and resources towards problematic guests. I think that this is going to be a huge benefit to any host, property manager, or homeowner.”  

I would love to read what you think about this high-risk detecting software or comments on new stuff not covered! This was Airbnb news in January

I'm Danny, the Airbnb expert

About Danny Rusteen:

Starting in 2012, Danny has been an Airbnb employee, Superhost, and Airbnb property manager. Danny lives in Airbnbs (1,000 nights). As a guest, Danny has traveled to 33 countries and sifted through thousands of Airbnb listings, so he knows what makes a listing stand out and how to offer a world-class experience to your guest. Follow his journey.

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