AdventureTravelNews

You Asked, We Answered: Opening a Dialogue with the ATTA Community About Airbnb

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In June, Airbnb launched Airbnb Adventures. The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) supported this initiative by providing Airbnb with safety tips, best practices, and the latest research specific to multi-day and remote adventures to share with hosts and guests. The ATTA advises governments, destinations, and travel companies and organizations globally on developing safe, responsible, and, therefore, high-quality adventure travel experiences.

The Adventure Travel Trade Association provided Airbnb with safety tips, best practices, and the latest research specific to multi-day and remote adventures to share with hosts and guests embarking on Airbnb Adventures.  © ATTA / Hassen Salum

Airbnb Adventures are multi-day Experiences led by local experts that must meet certain quality and safety standards before they can be booked. All hosts must demonstrate expertise relevant to the Experience they host. Additionally, all Experiences have a detailed page for guests with information about the host, the trip, and what prospective guests can and should expect.

Since the launch of Airbnb Adventures, the ATTA team has fielded a number of questions from members, colleagues, and friends about our partnership with Airbnb. Many questions fell into a few common themes: licensing and regulation, competition and pricing, and benefits to the ATTA member community. We wanted to share several of those questions with the community at large with answers from the ATTA.

Licensing and Regulation

Q: Will Airbnb Adventures require hosts to adapt to each country’s regulations?

A: Hosts must certify they will comply with all legal and regulatory requirements before submitting their Adventure. Airbnb’s Responsible Hosting Center provides detailed information to help hosts identify what types of laws and requirements may apply, including laws for multi-day Experiences and Adventures. For more information on criteria and restrictions for Airbnb Adventures, visit the Airbnb blog.

Q: Some Airbnb Adventures being offered need guides/hosts with training. Will the ATTA ensure Airbnb Adventures are led by guides who have proper qualifications?

A: The ATTA is not a certifying body but rather an organization whose purpose it is to nurture and professionalize the responsible and sustainable development of the adventure travel industry. The ATTA is advising Airbnb on safety and best practices for their hosts, reinforcing the role safe and responsible delivery of adventure travel has as a competitive differentiator.

The research and education we’re providing to Airbnb should help the company make sure only qualified hosts are on the platform. The ATTA’s affiliation with Airbnb and the subsequent awareness it will bring to the adventure travel industry is an opportunity to educate travelers on how they can and should conduct their own due diligence when choosing an adventure experience.

Hosts who include technically specialized activities as part of their Adventures must attest to having the appropriate skills certification to conduct these activities as well as current first aid and CPR training and/or access to medical services. For trips involving certain activities that could pose a heightened safety risk, Airbnb looks to see that hosts have licenses and/or certifications for the activity where appropriate. It works with a third-party vendor to check licenses and/or certifications for the activity.

For more information on the quality and safety standards hosts must meet before an Adventure can be booked, visit the Airbnb website. For more on criteria and restrictions for Airbnb Adventures, visit the Airbnb blog.

Q: Should Airbnb hosts be offering Adventures? How does empowering hundreds of inexperienced hosts offering Adventures benefit the adventure travel industry?

A: Launching Airbnb Adventures doesn’t mean Airbnb is going to empower hundreds of inexperienced hosts. In fact, many Airbnb Adventures are provided by small, local operators who are offering multi-day experiences that are otherwise hard to find.

Not everyone who submits an Adventure will be approved to be a host. For more on the quality and safety standards hosts must meet before an Adventure can be booked, visit the Airbnb website. For more information on the criteria and restrictions for Airbnb Adventures, visit the Airbnb blog.

This also presents an excellent opportunity to educate visitors on what to look for when choosing an adventure experience host or guide. This can only benefit our industry and members as qualifications, best practices, and safety standards become a competitive advantage.

Q: I didn’t know ATTA advised on safety and guide standards. How can I demonstrate that I am certified to offer quality experiences for potential guests?

A: The ATTA has supported the promotion of adventure guiding best practices in various ways for many years. In particular, we have advocated for safety in adventure travel through our incubation of the Adventure Travel Guide Qualification and Performance Standard, our guide training courses, and our AdventureEDU safety and risk management training course. As a professional adventure travel tour operator, make sure you post relevant certifications and training your guides have received on your website and in any profile you share with trade partners.

Q: The idea of improving safety standards is excellent, but what about licensing?

A: Licensing is an issue within many jurisdictions worldwide. As part of the ATTA’s advice on safety and best practices, the ATTA is providing Airbnb with information about leading certifications for technically specialized activities. Being qualified to lead guests is key to a quality experience; this is why the ATTA encourages our members to proudly display and highlight their certifications and memberships to highlight their commitment to safety. For more on Airbnb’s criteria and restrictions for Adventures, visit these Airbnb blog posts on multi-day trips and Airbnb Adventures.

Q: What guarantee do you or Airbnb have that hosts will follow these tips?

A: The ATTA does not have a role in managing Airbnb’s platform, or the platforms of the other organizations and companies we advise. Our perspective, however, is that hosts have an incentive to adhere to best practices; if they do not, they can be removed from the platform.

In addition, they are reviewed by guests. We anticipate hosts who follow safety tips and best practices will achieve higher ratings and more business, especially with Airbnb promoting its affiliation with us and encouraging best practices. Guests will also become better acquainted with best practices and able to make informed decisions when selecting Adventure hosts as well as ATTA member adventure tour operator businesses.

Adventures with too many low ratings, or an average rating at or below 4.7 may be removed from Airbnb, and reports about safety issues are taken very seriously. If Airbnb is made aware of an Experience and/or host that violates platform policies, community standards, or terms of service, Airbnb will take action, including up to permanent removal from the community if warranted. For more on Airbnb’s criteria and restrictions for Adventures, visit the Airbnb blog.

Competition and Pricing

Q: Why would ATTA support a platform that seems to compete with its members?

A: The ATTA views Airbnb as another sales channel for our members and already see well-established companies using the platform for certain itineraries. It shouldn’t be assumed that adventure hosts on Airbnb’s platform will not be following safety and risk management protocols.

Airbnb’s tremendous reach also makes it a travel platform with great potential to promote best practices and understanding among a wide population of travelers. By supporting Airbnb with up-to-date research, best practices, and safety tips, the ATTA lives up to our mission to encourage the growth and promotion of adventure travel globally in a responsible and sustainable manner.

If you’re interested in submitting an Airbnb Adventure for consideration, contact [email protected] and note in the subject line of the email that you are an ATTA-affiliated member. Your multi-day trip will be reviewed for Airbnb’s quality standards and applicable safety criteria.

Q: How will Airbnb and other companies entering the adventure travel space affect prices for consumers? For example, Airbnb has a 20% host service fee.

A: There will be a range of prices available across all price points on the platform, and Airbnb Adventures come at a more affordable price point than the current industry standard. Yes, the Airbnb host service fee is 20%, however, it includes marketing support, insurance, and 24/7 customer support for hosts and guests, so you might take some of that expense out of your costs. It could be an interesting way to test new products in a low-risk environment or for an entirely new consumer audience.

For more information on trip protections, visit the Airbnb blog posts about hosting Experiences and multi-day trips.

Benefits to the ATTA Community

Q: How does the ATTA’s affiliation with Airbnb benefit my membership?

A: The ATTA’s goal is to help our members’ businesses grow and provide access to a global adventure travel community. We try to help our members develop successful relationships with a variety of businesses from media, destinations, and tour operators to suppliers, accommodations, and specialty travel advisors. Airbnb is a new entrant to our adventure community. With its broad reach and market power, it has the potential to become a meaningful channel for ATTA member companies. We believe our partnership with Airbnb helps strengthen our network, expanding our connection to the global travel business community.

Q: I am looking forward to learning more about Airbnb as a channel for my business. What do I need to know about getting my trips listed?

A: Airbnb handles all submissions for experience hosts. From what we have seen, however, the type of unique, personal experiences the majority of members in our community offer is precisely what they’re interested in seeing on the platform.

If you’re interested in leading an Adventure, email [email protected] with a summary of the multi-day trip you would like to host and note in the subject line of the email that you are an ATTA-affiliated member. Your multi-day trip will be reviewed for Airbnb’s quality standards and applicable safety criteria.

If you have additional questions, visit the following resources provided by Airbnb:

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