As people become increasingly comfortable using web platforms to swap homes, cars, and everything in between (spouses?), some have said that the collaborative consumption movement has the potential to be as profound as the industrial revolution. But, before that can happen, marketplaces and platforms that deal in collaborative consumption need to recognize the importance of ensuring consumer protection, a lesson Airbnb learned the hard way last year.
After multiple users’ homes were trashed last summer (and a slew of bad press followed), Airbnb apologized and offered a $50,000 guarantee against damages to hosts. The startup dropped the ball the first time around, but today it’s proving that it has learned its lesson, making good on its promises to protect users by announcing that it will now cover up to $1 million in property damages for every host.
Partnering with insurance giant Lloyd’s of London, Airbnb now guarantees that every booking on its platform is covered by its “Host Guarantee,” which states that Airbnb will reimburse users for damage to their property up to $1,000,000 — at no cost to them. As it would seem, this is a fairly unprecedented move for the industry, and a very important one given Airbnb’s symbolic (and literal) position as a mediator between two parties who are inherently moving their online relationships into the real world.
Nothing is more imperative than the trust of that relationship, and Airbnb’s move to renew its commitment to expanding its safeguards goes a long way towards securing that dynamic.
However, it should be made clear that those seeking payment under the Host Guarantee will have to cooperate with Airbnb and its insurers, and that the Guarantee itself does not qualify as a replacement or substitution for homeowners or renters insurance. The Guarantee does NOT cover cash and securities, collectibles, rare artwork, jewelry and pets.
For more, check out Airbnb’s new guarantee here.