Skift Take

With fraud a substantial problem in online travel these days, Airbnb is undertaking the mammoth task of trying to verify listings. The process is easier for professional hosts.

Airbnb has started to verify listings in five of its top global markets, but the process is much simpler for professional hosts than those with individual listings, according to requirements viewed by Skift.

In the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and France, the verification process for pro hosts consists of just checking two boxes indicating that their listings satisfy verification requirements and that they are authorized to attest to that. There is no other proof required.

Individual hosts need to provide photos or videos.

Professional hosts could be those with, say, 20 listings or public companies. such as Vacasa and Sonder with thousands. 

Hosts who don’t submit verification for their listings within several weeks after receiving an email prompting them to do so risk having their calendars blocked, meaning they can’t take new reservations.

Airbnb blocked or removed more than 200,000 fake listings in 2023. Now it is undertaking the mammoth task of verifying its more than 7 million listings. Airbnb, which declined to comment on the verification process for this story, is expected to provide an update in March about how many of its listings it has verified.

Here’s the process for individual hosts, according to Airbnb:

  • Take photos outside their property that match two images or
  • Provide three videos of less than 20 seconds each that the host takes inside the front door, outside the unit, and showing a street sign nearby or
  • If the host doesn’t reside in the listing city, then they can ask someone else to match two photos with listing images or submit the three videos.
  • Pro Hosts Need to Just Check 2 Boxes

    Does Airbnb Favor Professional Hosts?

    Individual hosts have long complained that pro hosts not only get the opportunity to generate an inordinate number of bookings on the platform, but get favored treatment.

    Airbnb has maintained that individual hosts are the heart of what Airbnb is, and that it is leaning in to further their interests.

    Regarding the different processes for listing verification, Airbnb points out that there are safeguards for ensuring that the listings for professional hosts are legitimate. These include the fact that professional hosts have account managers as a further layer of accountability, and there is behind-the-scenes fraud detection technology.

    Airbnb’s verification process is limited in scope. You’d think it is designed to reassure guests that hosts are who they say they are, and that guests will receive service that matches the listing. 

    But verification goes only so far, according to the company’s online help center for hosts.

    Airbnb states: “A listing being ‘Verified’ only means that the Host has provided info in order to complete our listing verification process. This process has safeguards, but is not a guarantee that a listing is what the Host claims it to be.”


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Tags: airbnb, future of lodging, hosts, individual hosts, listings, online travel newsletter, professional hosts, property management companies, sonder, vacasa, verification

Photo credit: Airbnb aims to expand its Host Clubs, which numbered around 640 globally in late 2023. Source: Airbnb

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