Rooms Rentals & Shares

Airbnb’s First Aid Kit Giveaway Would Cover a Tiny Portion of its Listings


Feb 22, 2014 10:00 am

Skift Take

Airbnb’s safety-device giveaway program doesn’t cover its massive listing base, but it’s better than nothing.

— Dennis Schaal

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Airbnb wants to ensure that all its hosts have smoke/carbon dioxide detectors and first aid kits in their abodes, and it plans on handing out up to 10,000 of the latter. Placeit by Breezi

Airbnb took some modest steps to enhance safety in the rooms and residences that it does not “own, sell, resell, furnish, provide, rent, re-rent, manage and/or control.”

That would include all of its listings because Airbnb, of course, argues that it is merely a marketplace, and not a room renter.

In a blog post entitled Safety and Airbnb, the company outlined steps to send up to 10,000 hosts in the U.S. a free first aid kit, and hosts can also apply for a free smoke/carbon monoxide detector.

It’s unclear how many detectors Airbnb will end up ordering because lots of hosts likely already have them, as many jurisdictions require them.

It is clear that the 10,000 first aid kits would only cover a fraction of listings in the U.S. when you consider that New York City alone as of January 31 had more than 19,500 listings, according to a Skift/Connotate study.

Some 350,000 hosts operate on Airbnb, according to its website.

Airbnb states that it is “working to expand all of these initiatives around the world.”

Hosts will have to apply for the detectors and first aid kits, as well as a safety card that would enable hosts to fill in contact information for local police and fire departments, as well as other emergency phone numbers.

After some much-publicized safety incidents, Airbnb instituted a $1 million Host Guarantee for damages, and a Verified ID program to ensure that guests really are who they say they are.

In addition to regulatory issues, safety is a key issue for hosts and guests, and Airbnb is at least is taking some small steps to address the issue.

And, if the the kits, detectors and safety cards save some lives and mend some bumps and bruises, then that’s a good thing.

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