Skift Take

Powell discussed the importance of hosting, and also unexpected fees, explaining that Airbnb has introduced an all-inclusive pricing option — excluding taxes — to improve transparency.

With no strict timeframe, this is what we can expect from Airbnb: A marketplace where hosts might pay to contract cleaning services, tax-inclusive pricing in places where it doesn’t do so already, an academy for hosts, and partnerships with destinations to promote tourism.

Speaking to Skift CEO Rafat Ali at the Future of Lodging Forum 2023 in London, Catherine Powell, global head of hosting at Airbnb, discussed the importance of hosting and her experience as a host. She highlighted the company’s recent product introductions, such as Airbnb Setup, which simplifies the onboarding process and connects new hosts with mentors. [See the video and transcript below.]

Powell also emphasized the power of the Airbnb community, with clubs and community leaders helping new hosts. She said that while the company’s focus is on individual hosts, Airbnb also works with property managers to ensure a consistent quality of experience for guests.

Powell also addressed the issue of unexpected fees, explaining that Airbnb has introduced an all-inclusive pricing option — excluding taxes — to improve transparency, and eventually may include taxes in a first look at a property’s price. Finally, she discussed a partnership with Visit North Carolina to promote sustainable tourism and host academies in rural areas.

Ali: Well, thank you, Catherine for being here. I interviewed you exactly at this exact conference last year in New York. You’re responsible for all the bile that the hosts put on Airbnb. So thank you for absorbing all the bile that hosts post … I’m kidding.

Powell: They put lovely things as well.

Ali: They are emotional and very invested in the brand, which is obviously an incredible thing. So you recently became a host.

Powell: I did.

Ali: And you have a house in Santa Monica Hills, which too if anybody of what’s happening in California, but you tell the story.

Powell: Yes. I live in the Santa Monica mountains and it’s pretty high, about 2,400 feet as they say in the US as opposed to 2,400. And it’s pretty remote. We have a guest house and I have wanted to host for some time. Being global head of hosting, I spend all my time with hosts, but I’ve wanted to host, but I’ve had a child, a son, living in the guest house. So I just took the decision to boot him out, which people always look alarmed. And it’s like, he’s not 12, he’s 27, and he has somewhere else to live. And so we just took the decision to boot him out, turn it over onto Airbnb. I then made my husband a co-host and he only discovered in fact that I’d put it on Airbnb by being notified by Airbnb that he was a co-host.

But he’s actually really embraced it, and it’s incredible. It’s very different, listening and supporting hosts, which is what I’ve done since I’ve joined Airbnb, to actually being one and the empathy of being in their shoes and worrying about reviews and worrying about managing guest expectations. I spend my time messaging guests, saying, you do realize, I live really high up. It’s a really windy road. There are coyotes, there may be leaves in the pool. Are you sure you want to come? And then I feel confident, but it’s been great. It’s been really great.

Ali: And what’s your rating?

Powell: I have two reviews so far, both five-star. But I feel the pressure to … in fact, I traveled and my husband, who as I said is embracing this, had to host the second ones because it’s a guest house, but we want to be there and welcome them and just ensure that they’re okay. And when I wasn’t there, I was texting, saying, did you say goodbye? Have you checked that they’re all right. We need to get a five star. I can’t as head of hosting, not have five stars. That would look really, really awkward.

Ali: So, speaking of which, you did come from Disney, so you know the experience economy very, very well. And part of you taking this job, and Brian has been saying on earnings calls now, and he spoke at the Morgan Stanley conference I think two weeks ago, where I think it’s probably, he went the most amount of detail I’ve seen him talk about hosting. And it looks like, and I think he’s said, and you’ve said, that as much supply you can get, you can build the demand. The demand is there, the job now is supply. So talk about, as a company, and Brian has also talked about moving Airbnb up the funnel into the inspiration world. This was the genesis of the categories and the homepage, et cetera, and more to come. So how do you think about hosting now for Airbnb, in an age where you want to be in the inspiration world?

Powell: Yeah. And it’s right. He’s done an incredible job. We’ve done an incredible job bringing more inspiration to the app with categories. And we now want to inspire hosts. Our supply is very strong. We finished 2022 with 900,000 more listings than we started. So it is great. And we have a network effect where supply will grow when we have demand, but we need to focus on it. That’s my role.

So we start with everything from just making people aware that when Brian talks about it going mainstream or being underground, it’s because Airbnb is a noun and a verb, but for travel. And every single person in this room will have heard of it from a travel perspective, but people don’t necessarily think about it as hosting. So we want to make people aware of that. In fact, we’ve got a great campaign called Airbnb It, which is all about just how easy it is to host.

Powell: It’s running in all our main markets. It’s running at least in six or seven countries. And we’ve seen, we have an Airbnb It campaign which is marketing, which is all about just understanding that if you have a space, you can Airbnb. We do comms in press where we highlight stories of hosts and what Airbnb-ing, what hosting has done for them in terms of just economic empowerment, especially important at the moment when we have a very uncertain macroeconomic climate. People are turning to hosting and this … nearly half of our hosts tell us that they host to stay in their homes, to pay their rent, to pay their mortgage. A third tell us that it’s covering the cost of living at the moment, whether energy, prices or inflation. So we want people to understand that. So we have communication as well around it.

And then once they’re aware, it’s about, okay, so how do you become a host? And in November last year, we introduced an easier way to onboard to basically publish a listing called Airbnb Setup, where we’ve really simplified the process. The vast majority of our hosted individual people, we have to make it simple. And what we do with that, which is great, is connect them to mentors. We connect them to our super hosts who talk them through it and help them set it up and also give them tips to be successful for their first booking. It’s so important for hosts to have a successful first booking. We know that. And three is the magic number. If hosts don’t get to three bookings, they are very likely to churn. And if they have a bad first experience, if they don’t get a five-star, they will likely churn.

So we are there. We understand these key milestones in a host lifecycle. We’re there to support them and we use the community. One of the incredible things about Airbnb is the strength of our community. We have clubs. We have community leaders. We have these super ambassadors to help them through the process.

Ali: And these are more organic efforts. So you are driving them.

Powell: So Airbnb Setup is something that we drive and we connect, but the clubs is organic. We will help set up clubs, but the community leaders and the groups that they have and the chat that they have is completely organic. We will make sure that community leaders have the details that they need. And we do launches twice a year now.

Ali: Right. So that came out of, so explain what happened in COVID. One of the things Brian has done is, he’s, the whole company, you as well, is … I’m just trying to remember. Went divisional, from cutting divisions to making it functional as a company.

Powell: Yes. To making it functional, being highly focused on having one roadmap that the whole company is focused on.

Ali: The whole company has singled in on that.

Powell: With these two beats, which are these launches. And these launches are about introducing innovations like …

Ali: Air cover.

Powell: And, categories for guests, like Airbnb Setup for hosts, like introducing air cover. So we have since the pandemic, innovated over 300 upgrades for our guests and our hosts and we group them and announce them at these launches. And one of the things that I do with hosts to make sure that they feel listened to and partnered with is give them these, the heads-up basically of what’s coming. So yesterday, Brian was talking to our community leaders. We had over a thousand on a call and he was taking them him through what’s coming up in our launch in May. And so feeling that they’re in the tent. But what’s so satisfying is that the launches that we have coming up for hosts and May all come from host feedback. We do workshops.

Ali: Yeah, we have you also launched an advisory council for hosts.

Powell: We have a host advisory board with 23 members, super diverse. And they’re so committed and they have a little badge, which they wear the whole time. It’s very emotional. They are very emotionally committed. The host advisory board are the best of the best and they’re very diverse just, geographically, culturally, but also the expertise that we bring. So we will have a member of the host advisory board from Australia who is very knowledgeable on sustainability and will help us educate hosts and give them tips on how to host sustainably. We have a host who is an expert around accessibility that helps us. So it all cascades down the community, but it’s very rewarding for them and for us.

Ali: I’m sure you’ve so far figured out. The interview is going to focus very much on the hosting part because that’s what Catherine is responsible for. So I have tons of tons more questions, less about the other side, which is the consumer side.

So a lot of these efforts are, what we just talked about are for individual hosts, versus the vacation rental managers, where you could argue, that’s where you get a lot of heat, which is these people with multiple listings, sometimes hundreds of listings if not thousands of listings, large vacation rental managers. So how are you working with them and how is it different from the individual hosts that are there?

Powell: So our platform started with individual hosts, is designed for individual hosts, and the tools that we create, the policies, is around individual hosts, but we do have property managers. Many of them are small entrepreneurs managing on behalf of people who don’t or can’t host. And we need to help make it easy for them to host and to meet our expectations, our standards of quality in particular.

We don’t want speculators, we don’t want anyone who is not complying on the platform, but the property managers that we do have, and we have certain markets where that is the normal practice, it’s not normal for people to open their own, we have professional management companies, but we want them to create the same quality and feeling of being hosted even if they’re not there. And so we do workshops with them and in fact we have members from property managers on the host advisory board, because they want to. They are very keen to understand how to represent the Airbnb brand in the way that our co-hosts do.

Ali: If you are on Twitter, which I am a lot, for those of you who know, there’s no good that comes out of that. But …

Powell: I know Brian is on Twitter.

Ali: Brian is on Twitter too. He has taken it. He’s been, for the last few years has done a great job. Every time Airbnb trends, I’m sure you, something probably drops in your throat. It’s like, oh my god, Airbnb’s trending again, which happens multiple times a day. If you click on it, guess what? It’s either the hosts complaining or it’s about the fees, the extra fees that, the cleaning fees or some horror story, whatever. So as an observer, media observer …

Powell: As a Twitter person …

Ali: Aa a Twitter person, you hear that noise, versus what the reality is … so how do you take … do you care about the Twitter feedback?

Powell: Yes, we care about it. It’s an important forum. And if it was, you are absolutely right that sometimes there will be something that is sensationalized. If you are a noun and a verb, and part of pop culture, people love to just put Airbnb in and you’ll get the tweet, the re-tweets or the …

Ali: The reaction. Yeah.

Powell: … the reaction. But no, we listen to feedback. We listen to feedback from hosts and we listen to feedback from guests. And when you see something trending, like cleaning fees or this idea that I think that I’m going to pay $100 a night and when I check out for two nights, it’s suddenly $600. We see that that is a problem.

So for example, for that, we’ve introduced an all-inclusive price. It doesn’t include tax yet. We might do that so that guests can understand exactly what this trip is going to cost. Because it’s incredibly frustrating when you find all these fees that you’re not expecting afterwards.

And our hosts as well, our hosts want to price competitively. And at the moment where affordability is so important, guests are more price-sensitive, which is why they want to know, hey, if I’m booking for three days, I really want to know what my budget is. Hosts want to price competitively. So we’re doing all-inclusive pricing for guests, which they’ve responded really well to, and our hosts embraced as well.

And we’re helping our hosts understand how to set the price that the guests will pay. What we’ve heard from host is they say, well, they set what they want and they don’t realize necessarily what the guest is going to end up paying. And now we have a tool where they can really manage that. And I think that’s going to help them be more competitive as well.

Ali: And one of the things you’re also doing on the host side is I’ve read the case study on the tourism side with Visit North Carolina, where you’re trying to push, well talk about that experiment, which is trying to push people to rural North Carolina and to do host initiation workshops?

Powell: Academies. Yes. So part of our mission is to basically promote what we call sustainable tourism and sustainable tourism-

Ali: And it’s also a little bit like, if the supply is not, there’s not enough supply in the cities, you might as well push people to-

Powell: Well this is what it is. It’s about tourism where tourism is needed, where those dollars are needed. And we work with over 150, I think, destination marketing organizations, North Carolina is one, who will come to us and say, especially post-pandemic, they will come to us and say, we need visitors, we need your guests. We have so much traffic. We need your guests. And what we can do, we can do it through categories and you can just do it through being a tech company. And travelers literally, and you here Brian, talk about this point demand to where we have supply or where supply is needed. So someone like North Carolina, we will do two things. One is we will create a destination page, so people are aware of it and want to travel-

Ali: This is not paid placement. These are just pure partnerships.

Powell: Pure partnership, no financial exchange. And we will recruit hosts because they need supply. And what we will do in some of these areas, which could be underserved or underrepresented communities, we will set up an Airbnb academy to help train people to be a host. And that could be anything from financial literacy, digital literacy, to how to be hospitable, how to make your host, or your home or your room, nice. And we do this all over the world.

Ali: So actually let me do a follow-up question. So in cultures which are not prone to being hosp … that’s not the right word, which are not prone to …

Powell: Sharing the home?

Ali: To welcome strangers into their homes, for instance, or these guests … Japan is a great example of the whole campaign over years that you had to do. Saudi I guess is a case study to come, because they just legalized people being able to put up their homes. How do you think about that?

Powell: So, you used Japan is a great example. Hospitality is core to the Japanese culture. It is in so many … we study it. I study the art of hosting to try to deconstruct it and help educate our hosts or provide tools for them to host in a hospitable way. Anyone who knows anything about omotenashi, the tea ceremony, the hospitality, it’s core to the Japanese culture. So we know that. And we know also that Japan, it has many, many empty vacant homes and it has cities that have basically been vacated by, or emptied as young move, they move out-

Ali: Yeah, Japan is going through a population crisis.

Powell: They leave home. Yeah. And it’s terrible. And they move to the main cities and they don’t come back, and you have these empty towns. So actually with Japan, it’s a gentle approach where we are working, and again we are approached by local councils. We have one in the, I think it’s the Negano district, where we are helping them renovate houses, old Japanese houses, so that they can encourage Japanese to come from the cities to stay.

So we’ve created hosts, we’ve helped them renovate their homes — and it’s so aligned with our mission. Someone visiting somewhere where they want to stay and belong, feel like they are home.

Ali: It’s very much an Airbnb word.

Powell: So, they’re not a resident, but … Yes, totally like Airbnb. So we do that in Japan. And I think for Japan we have these examples. And then you have, going back to what we were first talking about, just awareness. Awareness of Airbnb is very low in Japan and so we want to build awareness, but do it in a way that has credibility and where they can see the value. And this partnership is a really good example of being able to see the value of hosting.

Ali: China, you’re totally out, right?

Powell: China, we don’t have a hosting business but we have outbound.

Ali: Of course. Yeah.

Powell: So guests who travel, and we’re excited about China opening up and starting tot travel a bit.

Ali: Haven’t yet seen the flow come out yet?

Powell: Not yet. It’s starting. But I think for everybody it’s slow.

Ali: So Brian at the Morgan Stanley conference caused a little bit of stir, which I’m sure you’re still dealing with, which is that paid listings.

Powell: I’m going to just echo what he said, which is … he is asked this every earnings call. And it is interesting and it’s something that’s studied, but it’s not something that we’re about to do.

Ali: How would hosts react?

Powell: I think some hosts would love it and some would find it very unfair. And it’s … our ranking. So the discovery, what we’re more focused on than paid listings is two things. One is just how do we make sure that we rank quality and value, and part of that is obviously pricing, but it’s also about how do you really emphasize what a host has, the amenities that a host has, which a guest might need.

And digital nomads or long-term stays is a good example of that. We know, we have all the data of what they’re looking for if they’re going to stay somewhere for a longer period. So they want great wifi, they want somewhere to work that’s comfortable, not a dining room table. They want separate washrooms and maybe pets. So we work with hosts to make sure that they have those amenities and they highlight those amenities, and we then want to match guests who are looking for it.

And I know you’ve talked about AI, I think probably throughout the day. For us what’s really exciting is that we will be able to match even better, where you understand what a guest really needs, what they’re looking for, what their interests are. They’re traveling with their family, their pets, their … the reasons that they’re going. And then match that with hosts and also what hosts are looking for.

Ali: Right. So in terms that … you used the word AI obviously, so let’s get into a little bit of that. You are in, Brian has teased on Twitter, that there’s a new homepage coming for Airbnb. So please unveil what that’s going to be here.

Powell: There’s not about to be a new homepage. I think … No, we’ve just, we’ve relaunched it.

Ali: I saw the categories. Yeah.

Powell: We just turned it on its head and hosts would kill us if we changed it again.

Ali: Because that was a huge change for the hosts — a huge change for them.

Ali: What was the reaction? So what was the education process for the host to go to these categories? Because there was some grumbling that now our listings are buried under these categories.

Powell: I think one of it was change. And I have to say candidly, one of my lessons was, we did not bring them along. Literally they opened up their app and it was like, what’s happened to Airbnb? And this is why, now, we do these, we’ve really changed and we will do these previews with them.

Ali: Before you release it to the public.

Powell: Before the launch, and we’ve created a beta program, to make sure that they can actually try the products and see it. That was really important to us. So part of it was change. And then we’ve learned, they wanted to know what categories they’re in and we hadn’t made it clear what categories they’re in. So we now tell them what categories they’re in, and also we educate them in terms of the things that we need to do.

When we talk about AI and machine learning, this is how we match a listing to a category. So we need data from them, and we need photographs, and we need them to give us that structured data. So we’re doing a lot of education and awareness as to what categories mean, because for hosts who are off the beaten track, for hosts who are not in the top destinations, it’s been really powerful. Categories, people discover places that they weren’t thinking of. When you think of the regular search paradigm you put in what you know. In categories, you talk about inspiration, people browse and it’s been-

Ali: Right. That was the big-

Powell: They’ve been viewed over 500 million times.

Ali: And one of the things that, so you are at a three percent take rate. For those of you who don’t know this, it is obviously public knowledge because you’ve talked about it on the-

Powell: Three

Ali: Three percent take rate, which is, explain what a take rate is.

Powell: So that’s the fee that Airbnb will take from hosts.

Ali: From the host and then they take about 10 to 14 percent from the guests as well. So that hasn’t changed. One of the things that you as a company has said is, the way we deepen our moat is to give away as much free services to the hosts and obviously the guests as well. Air cover was part of that. Can you offer paid services to the hosts?

Powell: I think we can absolutely offer services to hosts at some point. And, I know Brian mentioned that in the Morgan Stanley, may have on the earnings, but it’s something that we look at, because hosts ask us for advice or for help..

Ali: Or a marketplace to choose.

Powell: Yeah. And so you could imagine, they all want to … cleaners are really important, especially post-pandemic, to find co-hosts. Incredibly important for a lot of people hosting. And I know this, hosting is, well my husband knows it more than I do now. It’s hard work.

You want to prepare it, you want to be thoughtful, you need to respond to them. So we have over half a million co-hosts on the platform. A lot of them are a partner or even a cleaner, or a local, a friend, a neighbor. But we hear from hosts who say, I would love to host, especially occasional hosts. So, we see this more and more, I want to go on holiday. I’m going to put my house on Airbnb, but I can’t do the co-hosting, ’cause I’m on holiday. And so you could imagine a marketplace where they can find co-hosts and other services. They may want to rent things for guests. So yes, I can imagine that.

Ali: Okay. So we do have time for questions. I know a bunch of them are coming up. If you want to ask questions, please go ahead. You mentioned in passing that Airbnb might include taxes and all-in pricing. What is driving that?

Powell: So in many markets, what we call the regulated markets for pricing, Europe, Australia, it’s all included. It’s just not standard in the US. Anyone who shops and you think you’re paying for one price and then the tax gets added, which is incredibly, I’m still not used to it. And it’s more about, it’s just not standard yet. So that’s why. But we will move to that, I’m sure.

Ali: We’ll move to that. Okay. How can Airbnb ensure the same standards of clean-ness provided by major hotel chains? Have you seen the major hotel chains these days? But we’ll …

Powell: So on cleanliness, it is incredibly important as a standard. Our hosts are reviewed on it. Our supers cannot be super host if they don’t reach certain standards. We take action on reviews. We get the data on a review on cleanliness and, well, cleanliness and accuracy are incredibly important. And we will take action if they’re not clean. And the action can range anything from just educating a host saying, Hey, you’ve been … comments have been made about cleanliness. You may want to think about it. Here’s some advice. Or we will suspend a listing that gets consistent bad reviews around cleanliness.

Ali: Have you solved the party problem?

Powell: Well, we have a ban on parties. We have a ban on parties. We have reservation technology, incredible technology that can detect what we call risky reservations. And we will, if we detect this … so it’s a series of factors that will be taken into consideration. Maybe someone who is young, who doesn’t have, maybe 19, 20, doesn’t have a review, books an entire home for one night. Flags are going to go up. We will stop those reservations. In fact, in the UK, last year we stopped 84,000 individuals from booking what looked like a risky reservation. And we have a neighborhood hotline for neighbors to call if they’re concerned.

Ali: This is Airbnb hotline.

Powell: Yeah. So we are, we’re very focused on making sure that we don’t have parties. It happens, and if it happens, we will take action immediately.

Ali: On the sustainability side, you’ve started doing energy audits to help hosts improve usage and even covering the portion of the costs for the hosts. So this is very interesting. Is there more to come on that?

Powell: So yes, there will be more to come for that. So obviously we are a platform with 6.6 million listings, and so the impact that we can have on any of these areas like sustainability, like accessibility, and having more accessible homes, it can have a real impact that is really important for our hosts and for our guests.

So we have corporate commitments around sustainability. What I focus on for hosts is, one, educating them just on sustainable practice. And we have a lot of hosts within the community who want to share all their tips. But we’ve a couple of pilots in Europe, in the UK and in France where we’ve partnered to help provide hosts, first of all, with an audit on how to make their home more energy efficient. They don’t know where to begin a lot of them. And then when they’ve done the audit, then we have partners who help them create the renovations in whatever it is, whether it’s a new boiler or it’s insulation, whether it’s new windows or LED lights. And we’ve seen an incredible pickup on that. So we need to see, obviously it’s not scalable for us to do that for 6.6 million listings, but the response from hosts has been incredibly strong, and we have partners wanting to work with us.

Ali: So I guess a lot of the startups in this space you want to work with that help provide services potentially to these types, to your hosts.

Powell: Yes. And going back earlier to your point of other paid services, hosts want to know where they can access these things. You could imagine, again, creating a marketplace where they can find …

Ali: These magic services for them.

Powell: Around hosting sustainably.

Ali: What are the markets that Airbnb wishes had more listings, or where supply does not need demand?

Powell: So we have 6.6 million listings in 220 countries. The way I would answer that question is to say, what we want to do is, be able to send demand to where we have supply and where supply is needed. And that really is, that goes back to this idea of sustainable-

Ali: The Quatar World Cup was an idea, was an example.

Powell: Yes, North Carolina. And also, another good example is events. In the UK, we worked for example with the Commonwealth Games, and are working with Liverpool for the Eurovision Song Contest, which the UK is hosting for Ukraine, and they need supply. So we’re going to help them build supply for that event, which is a sustainable way of providing accommodation. And what we find that is great for us is that, often hosts, including Brian and his co-founder, hosted for an event. He hosted for the San Francisco design. And then they love it and they … or love the income and they stay.

Ali: How’s his hosting going?

Powell: His hosting is going very well. He recently had one of our community leaders from South America. And it’s absolutely legitimate. They will sign off. It’s definitely not fixed. He wouldn’t have fixed this one because I think he was given a lot of feedback that then he brought to our-

Ali: Feedback?

Powell: Feedback from the host, which he then brought to the Monday morning meeting, which was pages of feedback. So, no, he’s loving it. He’s loving it.

Ali: You are, as a company, probably the largest company of an example that’s gone totally remote.

Powell: We’ve gone full choice. So what we have is a policy called live and work anywhere, where you can choose to live and work anywhere. For many people, it is going to the office in San Francisco. So our offices, I was in the London office on Monday. Our offices are open. We don’t have as many as we had before. But the offices are there, because for many people they need to go to an office or they want to go to an office. We also want an office, because we want to bring people together intentionally at certain times, so we can continue to have either the type of brainstorming, creative or strategic, that you can do better in person, or just to make sure that you continue building the culture. So, a lot of people who have, a lot of our employees who have chosen to live anywhere, I have members of my team who live in Bueno Airs and Mexico and love it, but we have many as well who live locally, work from home, but will still come in to meet with teams.

Ali: Yeah. We’re almost there, but let’s get a few questions. Sorry. Airbnb is not an OTA? No. What are your thoughts on the large OTAs and their move to offer vacation rentals and homes?

Powell: That’s been the case for some time, and I think we know that that’s there. We focus on what is so unique about Airbnb, which is, especially if you think, at the moment, with the macroeconomic backdrop, Airbnb is so unique that we have everything for every budget.

So we have private rooms, which are incredibly important for a budget traveler. Brian’s space is a private room. All the way up to luxury. But we have entire homes, something which obviously was very, very popular during the pandemic. And what we’re seeing now is a growth in group travel. So it’s very affordable for group travel and family travel, which has continued since the pandemic.

And this I think really represents the ongoing trend of flexibility. Our family travel globally has increased 60 percent pre-pandemic. And I think this is because people remain flexible. You may not be able to fully work remotely, but you are able to do some work remotely, so people are doing everything from, go away for the weekend with a family and then just if it’s a half-term or something, add on additional days, or spend the whole of the summer holidays traveling somewhere, living somewhere remotely and being able to work. One-in-five of our nights booked is still a long-term stay, over 28 days.

Ali: Yeah. That has come down from the peak, but is still now much larger than it was.

Powell: And nearly half, about 45, 46 percent are for stays of over a week.

Ali: That’s pretty good. Last thing. This is the hotel industry. Should hotels be talking to you in terms of inventory?

Powell: Yeah. We talk to hotels. We have hotels. Obviously we own HotelTonight. And we have wonderful boutique hotels on the platform. So no, there is absolutely a space for hotels on our platform, in our network. It’s really important if they are on Airbnb as opposed to HotelTonight that they compliment the brand, that they offer that unique hospitality that is so important to Airbnb’s brand. But no, there is. There’s room for hotels.

Ali: Okay, so these are there … there’s actually a B&B category.

Powell: We have boutique hotels, but we have a B&B category, yes.

Ali: And these are the traditional B&Bs before Airbnb became a term.

Powell: Yes, yes.

Ali: But yeah. Okay. All right. Thank you. We’re out of time. Thank you, Catherine. That was pleasure.

Powell: A pleasure. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you.

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Tags: airbnb, future of lodging, hosts, skift future of lodging forum 2023, skift live, vacation rentals

Photo credit: Airbnb Global Head of Hosting Catherine Powell with Skift CEO Rafat Ali at the Future of Lodging Event in London. Photo credit: Russell Harper

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