Can Airbnb Recover From Its Own Housing Crisis?


In just over a month, the Internet has delivered a double whammy to a hot Web startup that has not only threatened its business model, but has severely tested its reputation.

Things were going great for high-flying Airbnb, described as a "social bed and breakfast marketplace" that connects potential renters with housing owners. Then an owner blogged that a person she rented to through the site vandalized her home. With that news all over the Internet, the company's initial response was pretty tepid—kind of ironic because Airbnb is essentially a social platform, run by Web-savvy people that should know to have an airtight crisis plan.

In fact, the response was right up there with the FAQ that appears on its Web site:

Q; Will someone steal my grand piano?
A: Highly unlikely. Grand pianos weigh thousands of pounds and do not fit through doors.


However, Airbnb began to get its act together this week, issuing an unconditional apology and offering a $50,000 guarantee against damages to hosts' properties. The crisis, however, exposes Airbnb as a site with a model like Craigslist, which has had some doozy situations arise thanks to the criminal activities of some of its users.

It will be interesting to follow what Airbnb does post-crisis to repair both its business model and its reputation. Any suggestions?




Comments Off

Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Social Media Conference

 Social_Media_Conference_180x150_ep
At PR News’ Social Media Conference, taking place October 9 at New York City’s Grand Hyatt, you will receive instruction from experienced social media communicators and take away practical knowledge that you can put to work right away as soon as you return to the office.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Media Relations Guidebook


book-mediarelations-180x150

This 8-chapter resource contains practical implications for some of the most innovative developments in media relations, including the technologies, methodologies and mannerisms that determine the ecosystem in which PR pros practice this essential part of their craft.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.