CEO Brian Chesky.
CEO Brian Chesky.

  • Airbnb spends $50 million (R690 million) each year on guests and hosts who have bad experiences, Bloomberg reports.
  • Airbnb spends the money on arranging flights, accommodation, and counselling, employees said.
  • It has reportedly covered costs related to patching bullet-holes and finding dismembered body-parts.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Airbnb spends an average of $50 million (R690 million) each year to deal with guests and hosts who have bad experiences while using its service, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Bloomberg viewed a confidential Airbnb document that said the company had spent roughly that amount on legal settlements and to repair damages to hosts' homes in recent years.

Bloomberg spoke to current and former members of Airbnb's safety team, who said they could spend as much money as they deemed necessary to make guests and hosts who have had traumatic experiences feel supported. They said this included booking alternative accommodation and flights, as well as paying for counselling and sexually-transmitted infection tests for victims of rape.

The Airbnb staff said the company had even paid for round-the-world vacations and dog-counseling sessions. One former safety agent described the company's approach as "shooting the money cannon."

Airbnb also pays to repair hosts' homes, current and former employees told Bloomberg. This has included hiring body-fluid crews to clean up blood, paying to have bullet-holes in hosts' walls repaired, and covering costs relating to the discovery of dismembered body parts, they said.

Read more: An Airbnb host says he raked in $69,000 in bookings this summer for his 8-bedroom Wisconsin home before he even furnished the place

Staff said that as well as being instructed to take care of customers, they felt pressured to preserve the company's image, and said they were encouraged to get people to agree to settlements in sensitive cases.

Bloomberg reported that in a 2015 case where a woman was raped in a New York Airbnb by a man who had a set of keys to the apartment, Airbnb offered a $7 million (R96 million) settlement that prohibited the woman from suing the company or blaming it for the assault.

Airbnb did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider for comment. In a statement to Bloomberg, Airbnb said most of the money it spends related to property damage and that settlements above six-figures were "exceptionally rare."

"People are naturally unpredictable, and as much as we try, occasionally really bad things happen," Tara Bunch, Airbnb's head of global operations, told Bloomberg.

"We all know that you can't stop everything, but it's all about how you respond, and when it happens you have to make it right, and that's what we try to do each and every time," she said.

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