Airbnb’s CEO communication skills are a valuable asset in times of crisis

We may or may not agree with some of Airbnb’s policies in the past, but what is difficult to deny is that its CEO has a master’s degree in clear, empathetic and transparent communication.

This was more than demonstrated in his statement of May this year, in which he informed about the massive layoffs of its staff, due to the pandemic.

It was also demonstrated last week, when it announced its global ban on parties in rental properties through its platform.

The communication gives context of what has been its policy so far, to then explain the unacceptable behavior that has been seen lately, as we continue to navigate the pandemic. He says:

“Some have chosen to take bar and club behavior to homes, sometimes rented through our platform. We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible – we do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behavior does not belong on our platform.”

Brian Chesky

He masterly goes on to justify the further restriction on the platform by explaining that the ban is “in the best interest of public health“, without impeding him from acknowledging some caveats:

(i) it’ll be difficult to enforce the policy at all times

(ii) there’ll always be those who attempt to break the rules but, if detected, Airbnb’ll take action

(iii) the 16-person limit gathering is not a magic number, but a mitigating measure amongst several ones being taken to avoid rentals misuses for parties.

On the issue of transparency though, I should note that the communication doesn’t mention the recent shootings at Airbnb properties, including one in February in which three people were killed. This incident and the previous one in California, over the 2019 Halloween weekend, may have been stronger and more decisive causes for prompting this new policy. Don’t you think?


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