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Airbnb City Portal Offers Transparency, Addresses Safety Concerns

A new Airbnb Portal gives cities a much-requested glimpse into the short-term rental company's books. Now operating in 15 cities, the Airbnb City Portal is poised for implementation on a global scale.
September 30, 2020, 9am PDT | Lee Flannery | @leecflannery
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Airbnb logo over Dresden

Multinational short-term rental behemoth Airbnb is making an effort to increase transparency with a data-sharing portal intended to provide a platform for municipalities to address safety concerns related to specific Airbnb listings. 

"The Airbnb City Portal, which launched on Wednesday as a pilot program with 15 global cities and tourism agencies, aims to provide municipal staff with more efficient access to data about listings, including whether or not they’re complying with local laws," reports Patrick Sisson. 

The pilot program features a direct contact person for each city to review safety or security issues identified by local officials. The Portal will also provide information about demographics and city of origin for visitors of Airbnb's rentals, making possible more data-informed marketing and advertising spend for municipalities

"At a time when fears of the impact of over-tourism have abruptly turned into worries about under-tourism, Airbnb is trying to position itself as a responsible partner that can help struggling cities recover more quickly," writes Sisson. 

The Portal could go great lengths toward touching up an already blemished relationship with local municipalities. Airbnb senior vice president for global policy and communications Chris Lehane hopes the company can "speed response times for the safety issues that have recently cropped up, such as booking entire homes for events to get around social distancing regulations, and eventually figure out how to do this on a global scale."

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Published on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Bloomberg CityLab
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