Business

Airbnb recruits a hospitality chief to standardize its customer service

Above: An Airbnb rental for those who like to travel in style

Airbnb has hired a head of hospitality to educate hosts about creating hotel-like experiences.

The company recruited Chip Conley from boutique hotel chain Joie De Vivre to lead its hospitality efforts. Conley will manage a “hospitality lab” in Dublin, Ireland, which focuses on educating hosts about stellar customer service. The goal is to create a more consistent experience for travelers, so you won’t need to rely so heavily on reviews.

Conley will establish a clear set of standards about cleanliness, response time and listing accuracy. Airbnb will be unlikely to enforce hotel or bed and breakfast standards, like supplying clean linens to guests. But it may be encouraged in the future.

Airbnb is already hiring new staff for its hospitality lab, but Conley intends to instruct hosts through online webinars in a variety of languages.

“I became a boutique hotelier because I wanted to shake up the conventional wisdom that — in order to offer quality — hospitality had to be conventional,” Conley said in a statement. “Nearly 30 years later, Airbnb is now on the forefront of a new type of innovation built from the same components: meaningful host connections, great design and local experiences.” Over his career, Conley has overseen the creation of 52 hotels.

About 500,000 people currently list their homes on Airbnb. The company was founded in 2008 on the premise that people will spare rooms, or an empty home or apartment, should make money by renting to tourists.


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