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Recent AirBNB drama: Growing pains or the beginning of the end?


Airbnb, the popular vacation rental site, seemed to have put many of its security troubles behind it., putting highly publicized apartment trashings in the rear view. That is until this week when two New Yorkers came forward with their own personal Airbnb nightmares.

The first: One user decided to have an "adult" party in an Airbnb rental, removing all the furniture, doing an estimated $87,000 worth of damage and quite possibly leading to the eviction of the apartment's tenant.

The second: A young woman in New York’s East village rented her apartment out to a man who claimed to be traveling with his family only to return home to find it had been used instead for a huge party. The apartment was trashed.

We sat down with Airbnb’s Co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky last year and asked him about ongoing security issues:

I think that we definitely had some challenges in the early days. We grew so fast that our operations and our technology dealing with trust and safety hadn’t caught up to our growth yet. I think now they’re on par...We made massive leaps in trust and safety but we’re not even like 10% of the way to where we want to be one day. We’ve done millions of night’s booked on our website...and it works remarkably well almost every single time and if it didn’t work well people wouldn’t tell everyone one about it. If you’re committed to trust and safety you don’t stop you continue to find new ways to build more trust and more safety...People forget the days when people thought Jeff Bezos was crazy cuz no one would ever put their credit card online. I remember people telling me Amazon won’t work people won’t put their credit card online, Airbnb won’t work. People won’t stay in people’s homes and I think that’s progress.

Chesky also told us he wants his brand to become the go-to site for travelers looking for lodging in much the way Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt are today. Are these problems just growing pains on the road to that kind of success or the beginning of the end of the company?

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