Airbnb's Host Clubs don't solely exist to enlist in local regulatory campaigns. But in the past, the company's public policy team has been heavily involved in their operations, and will be in the future.
Airbnb launched its Host Clubs in 2016, in part to help with local campaigns against regulatory clampdowns. Now, it is seeking to expand these clubs.
The company is hiring a Community Growth & Experience Lead to hone the growth strategy of its 640 Host Clubs around the world, which currently count around 300,000 members. Skift learned of the initiative through an Airbnb job posting. Airbnb removed the job posting on Friday because it received many applications and is beginning the interview process.
“In this role, you will work closely with and report to the Director of Community Management, and work across the Community Connection, Marketing, Geos and Policy teams,” the posting said.
Airbnb announced the launch of Home Sharing Clubs at a press conference in 2015, and Reuters reported at the time that the goal of the clubs was to organize hosts to help “head off regulatory crackdowns.”
No Shortage of Regulatory Crackdowns
There is no shortage of regulatory crackdowns against Airbnb and other short-term rental providers these days. And the new community growth & experience lead would work with Airbnb’s public policy team, among other business units.
For example, Dallas is trying to block short-term rentals in neighborhoods with single-family homes, but on Wednesday a judge temporarily blocked implementation of that law.
New York City’s new host registration law, which allows for rentals only when hosts are present during a stay of fewer than 30 days, has driven listings underground, and led to rising hotel rates, according to some reports. An Airbnb-commissioned survey released Friday found that 18% of travelers who responded would be less likely to visit the city because of the new rules.
Club Members Will Get Involved in Local Causes
Airbnb.com says the purpose of Host Clubs is for members to learn from “top hosts,” get “insider access” to Airbnb news and give feedback to the company, and “collaborate with your community and local organizations to positively impact tourism and important causes in your area.”
The 300,000 club members, according to Airbnb’s tally, are a relatively small subset of Airbnb’s more than 4 million hosts.
The clubs seemed somewhat independent in their early days, but Airbnb has dropped that narrative a couple of years ago. For the formation of the new club in Amsterdam in December 2016, for example, Airbnb stated: “We are excited to see what they will plan in the near future. The club is part of an exciting worldwide movement and it’s great to see its commencement in Amsterdam.”
A 2021 University of Manchester report said: “Home Sharing Clubs are associations of selected Airbnb landlords who are resourced, mobilized and coordinated by Airbnb public policy teams to advocate for favorable regulation.”
Airbnb didn’t provide a comment about the job posting or potential expansion of the Host Clubs.
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Photo credit: Airbnb aims to expand its Host Clubs, which number ed around 640 globally in late 2023. Source: Airbnb