Airbnb 'made mistakes and needs to change' says founder

Updated / Sunday, 9 Aug 2020 18:15

Brian Chesky promised to provide more information to local authorities looking to police short-term accommodation

By John Kilraine

A co-founder of Airbnb has admitted the company has made mistakes and "needs to change".

Brian Chesky said that his company needs to get back to basics by prioritising small scale hosts over larger commercial operators.

Speaking in an interview with the Sunday Times magazine, he said: "We grew so fast, we made mistakes, we drifted. We really need to think through our impact on cities and communities".

He has promised to provide more information to local authorities looking to police short-term accommodation, including registration and how often properties are rented.

Mr Chesky said the company will work with local authorities to limit the number of rental nights per year and impose minimal rental terms to comply with local laws.

He said the company took down half its hosts in San Francisco.

Airbnb was hit with €1 billion worth of cancellations during Covid-19 and put off its planned flotation on the stock exchange.

It had to borrow €2bn from investors while letting go 25% of its staff - a total of 2,000 people.

Airbnb has caused controversy around the world with accusations it has hit the supply of long-term rental properties while causing apartment blocks to become unlicensed hotels and premises to be used for mass social gatherings.

Here, the Government introduced laws to regulate the sector but earlier this year it was revealed only 249 property owners in Dublin city had come forward to register with the council, even though there are 7,218 Airbnb properties in the area.