Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at how Airbnb identifies hosts, a hybrid work rethink, and United's new pilot bases.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Friday, December 2. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Airbnb has long argued that 90 percent of its active hosts are individuals as opposed to property management companies. But a report has shot down that narrative, forcing the short-term rental giant to defend its longtime claim that the overwhelming majority of its hosts are individuals, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal.

When asked about an analytics company report that said only 38 percent of Airbnb hosts offered one listing, an Airbnb spokesperson countered that most of its hosts only share one home. Airbnb Chief Financial Officer Dave Stephenson, as recently as last month, said 90 percent of the company’s hosts are individuals. Schaal writes the issue is important because many Airbnb guests seek a local experience from individual hosts. Those hosts are also aware property managers have gained share in bookings on Airbnb in recent years versus solo hosts, Schaal adds.

Schaal argues that it’s time for Airbnb to be more transparent about the breakdown of host types on the platform, writing that the company labels hosts as individuals in a misleading manner.

Next, companies worldwide are increasingly looking at ways to tap into the remote worker market. But a Nairobi, Kenya-based venture studio has closed its remote working startup after discovering its business model wasn’t meeting its aims, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons in this week’s Future of Work briefing.

Purple Elephant Ventures has shut down Wavel, a platform designed to connect properties with high-end professionals. Purple Elephant, which had raised $1 million for the project, had set up Wavel to showcase African destinations as ideal for remote working. However, Purple Elephant co-founder and CEO Ben Peterson acknowledged Wavel faced challenges with infrastructure and convincing prospective customers they could trust the brand.

Peterson said the demand for remote work has begun to waver. He noted Wavel was unable to find the proper business model. But Peterson added closing Wavel was the right decision because it prevents Purple Elephant from losing money.

Finally, United Airlines will open new pilot bases in Florida and Nevada amid ongoing contract negotiations, reports Edward Russell, editor of Airline Weekly, a Skift brand.

United Director of Flight Crew Resources Zach Shapiro told staff this week that it would open new crew bases in Las Vegas and Orlando next May. Shapiro described the bases as beneficial to pilots, with Florida and Nevada being home to the largest concentrations of United pilots outside of the carrier’s existing bases. United’s roughly 1,000 pilots living in Florida commute to work at airports with bases such as Los Angeles or Newark.

Russell writes news about the bases comes amid contentious contract negotiations with the Air Line Pilots Association. A tentative agreement the union and airline reached in June was rejected by pilots last month with many pilots demanding higher raises. United pilots picketed at the airline’s hubs last month.

Tags: airbnb, labor, skift podcast, united airlines

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