EMAILED ON November 8, 2019 BY Caroline Dohack

Airbnb struggles to gain back trust after several scandals

It’s a not-so-beautiful day in the neighborhood. In the past week, Airbnb has faced scrutiny for a deadly shooting as well as lax enforcement of loopholes that enabled a nationwide scam.

This seems like a bad time to ask for extra towels

A “mansion party” on Halloween night drew about 100 people from across the San Francisco Bay area. Though the Airbnb listing explicitly forbade parties, this isn’t the first time the property owner fudged the short-term rental bucket. Then, a shooting at that Airbnb that night led to five deaths.

That same day, VICE reported on a nationwide scam in which a person or organization with at least 94 property listings in 8 cities created a bait-and-switch operation involving phony listings, fake reviews and — dun dun dun — coercion. And you thought bed bugs were bad. 

‘Maybe I’ll take my chances with Sheraton… ’

But Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky hopes you will reconsider. He recently announced a ban on “party houses,” though it’s unclear exactly what that means. The company also announced the addition of two top police officials as advisors to its online and offline safety strategy. 

To further nip naughties in the bud, Airbnb will launch an ambitious program to verify each home and host on its platform to ensure listing accuracy and assess whether rentals meet basic standards for cleanliness and home amenities. Airbnb hopes to achieve 100% verification of its 7m listings by December 15, 2020. 

Other big plans for 2020? Oh, yeah – Airbnb hopes to go public.