Skift Take

Airbnb is doing all it can to scale up its listings globally, including using more management companies. The problem for Airbnb as it goes corporate is how will the guest experience retain any semblance of authenticity.

In a bid to further scale and professionalize its business, Airbnb has quietly rolled out a website page that enables individual hosts — including those who are just considering putting up an apartment listing — to search for superhosts in their areas to manage the whole thing for the individual host.

These superhosts, who have multiple listings and essentially take on the roll of property manager, help create the listing, evaluate pricing, handle messaging with guests and optionally can meet guests upon check-in, among other tasks.

The way it works is that the individual host searches for a nearby superhost, or perhaps a management company, selects one, and then pay a host fee usually ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent in addition to the 3 percent fee that Airbnb charges hosts for each booking. The host and superhost negotiate the superhost-management fee.

That commission of up to 23 percent amounts to a hefty fee but may be attractive to an individual host in a popular destination who is renting out his or her apartment as a part-time endeavor and doesn’t want to bother with the hassle of it all.

For Airbnb, it is a way to attract more listings and to professionalize them, and in the process make more money by adding listings and better-meet guest expectations. At the same time, Airbnb is also busy trying to expand its vacation rental listings globally.

One challenge, though, is how Airbnb’s taking the host-experience more corporate will mpact the local experience that guests crave. A superhost or professional management company with 30 listings won’t be able to hang with the guest and go out for drinks together.

Rented CEO Andrew McConnell, who wrote a blog post about Airbnb’s new superhost search page, says it only works for finding hosts in select destinations such as Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Tokyo.

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Tags: airbnb

Photo credit: Airbnb rolled out a page that enables individual hosts to find superhosts or management companies to handle their listings for a fee. Airbnb

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