Airbnb CEO Suggests a Loyalty Program May Be Coming

Jan 17, 2018

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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky posed an interesting and exciting question on Twitter on Tuesday. The world’s largest home-sharing site appears to be discussing the introduction of a membership loyalty program. Chesky tweeted on Sunday night a request for people to tell him what benefits they’d want to see from a “guest membership program.”

Interestingly enough, Chesky responded himself to some of the suggestions, giving us an idea of what may be included in a future rewards program:

Will Airbnb partner with local gyms to offer travelers (free?) access to fitness centers?

Some of the most popular Airbnbs are difficult to rent because of high demand, so having special access for elite members is an idea that Chesky seemed to like.

Of course, many said they would love to see Airbnb points redeemable for free nights. Chesky’s response didn’t seem very enthusiastic…

… and neither did the reply to a bunch of ideas floated by a follower named Matt Pointon:

A frustrating issue is that many properties require visitors to stay at a property for a minimum amount of nights, even if their desired stay is shorter. The CEO said it’d be a “good idea” and that it’s a “popular request” to make the minimum stay requirements more flexible.

An idea to make the Airbnb experience more seamless and similar to your home would be to sync your accounts to a property’s devices, i.e. you show up at your Airbnb in London and your favorite Spotify playlist is blasting on a Google Home when you walk in.

While all these ideas seem exciting, it’s still hard to tell if Airbnb will implement any of them, let alone a rewards or loyalty program at all. In September at the Skift Foru,Airbnb’s co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Nathan Blecharczyk said he was personally surprised that the company still didn’t have a loyalty program.

We solicited feedback from the TPG Lounge, asking what our readers would want to see in Airbnb guest membership program, and what it would take to shift their loyalty away from hotels. One of the most popular ideas, and probably obvious for a loyalty booking, would be a “fee-free booking” that you would receive after a certain amount of stays or nights. Airbnb would likely waive the booking and cleaning fees and all you’d have to pay for is the nights themselves.

Airbnb could team up with a credit card issuer and offer credits as a perk for a card, suggests Jack Vogt.

Kalis Kim expressed frustration at the the company’s cancellation policy and suggested it would be hard to provide the same level of service to an Airbnb “elite” as a VIP would receive at a hotel.

Although not everything will be included, David Miller listed a slew of requests like credit in partner programs and reduced fees — and if some of them were implemented it would push him to choose an Airbnb over a hotel.

Although there are no indications that we’ll see an Airbnb loyalty program in the immediate future, the prospect is exciting and would likely disrupt the hotel industry even more.

Featured image of Airbnb Founder & CEO Brian Chesky by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Airbnb

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