Airbnb launches new safety product for solo travellers

TD Editor

Airbnb strives to be a place where anyone can belong and feel safe while travelling. One strength is in the flexibility we offer to our guests through our over 6 million listings. From group trips; to business travel; to solo exploration — no matter what you’re looking for, you should be able to find and book it on Airbnb.

As the “live anywhere” phenomenon has taken off among people who are able to work remotely, our platform has become increasingly integral to solo travellers. In 2021, 26% of all nights booked on Airbnb were by solo travellers, and more than 50% of nights booked for long-term stays during the first quarter of 2022 were for solo travellers.

We recognize that the trust and safety of our solo traveller community is critical. As we saw the solo travelling and “live anywhere” trends begin to accelerate, our Trust team began working last year on a new product aimed at promoting a safe and secure experience for solo travellers, and we’re proud to announce it today.

Our new Solo Traveller in-app experience is specifically designed to better support safe solo travelling on Airbnb. When a solo guest books a private or shared room reservation, we will activate a specialised in-app experience, starting with supplying the traveller with expert tips they may want to try to help stay safe when travelling alone.

The key component of this new feature is the ability for the solo traveller to easily share, with one touch, their reservation itinerary with the important and trusted people in their lives for added peace of mind and in the rare event of an emergency during a stay. The itinerary includes: listing address, reservation code, and check-in and out dates.

Once the reservation is confirmed, in the message thread with the Host, the traveller will see automated prompts by Airbnb suggesting questions to ask the Host about the listing and surrounding neighbourhood. These suggested questions stem from research with experienced solo travellers who provided detail on the types of local insights that helped them stay safe while on the road.

This feature is initially being rolled out for English-speaking guests. At this time, it will focus on bookings by solo travellers to private rooms or shared spaces. We plan to introduce this feature to additional countries and languages in the coming year, as well as expand it to include entire home listings as well.

Additionally, we recognize that female solo traveller safety is top of mind for the travel community right now. As we began developing the product, it became apparent that this could benefit all solo travellers, so the in-app experience will be made accessible to guests regardless of their gender identity.

Our hope is this new product will better equip solo travellers on Airbnb to be more informed travellers by getting their pre-trip questions answered, giving them a better understanding of their surroundings, and informing the important people in their lives about where they will be and for how long.

This new feature complements our longstanding products and tools to promote safer travel experiences. Other in-app products like the 24-hour Safety Line are available to all travellers during active reservations. If a guest ever feels unsafe, they’ll get priority access to specially-trained safety agents, day or night.

We also make our Local Emergency Services in-app feature available to all Airbnb users 24/7, regardless of whether or not they are in the middle of an Airbnb reservation. With one touch, this feature quickly connects the user to local emergency services (i.e. 999) — which could be particularly helpful for solo travellers who are travelling abroad in countries where they do not know the phone number off-hand for local police. This feature was recently extended to 70 countries and regions, with more to come.

Lastly, all Airbnb users have the option to add one Emergency Contact to their Airbnb profile.

In the rare circumstance that Airbnb needs to contact someone on your behalf, adding an emergency contact can help quicken that process. This can be found in Account Settings in the Personal Info tab towards the bottom of the page and only visible to Airbnb.

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