Airbnb Takes Further Steps to Combat Racism

Back in early June, Airbnb publicly announced a plan to partner with The California
Department of Fair Employment and Housing to test for racial biases hosts may use
to discriminate against potential renters, looking to book their homes.

Many instances of racist behavior caused by hosts have surfaced over the years, but
now important steps are being taken to hopefully end this racial discrimination.
According to the official NAACP website, NAACP and Airbnb are partnering together
to help people of color to “earn extra income and drive benefits of tourism” in their
communities.

This partnership will also profit lower income areas by bringing more tourism
and the benefits that come with it, to the areas that need it most. According to the NAACP article, “Analyses have shown that Airbnb and home sharing can provide significant economic benefits to communities that have not benefitted from tourism in the past.”

We are excited to see the new opportunities this partnership will bring, not only to
Airbnb but also to communities all over. MetroButler remains committed to helping ALL hosts share their homes and applauds this effort.

- Sydney

What Makes Airbnb So Likable?

The process involved when companies attempt to build mutual trust with their customers can often be a challenging one. Sites like Airbnb that are based off of customer-to-customer transactions have to take extra measures to ensure that users not only trust one another, but also trust the facilitating company itself.

Forbes recently analyzed the ways Airbnb’s approach and design makes it the “approachable” website that we know today. The two features that most stood out for users are “visual design and user experience”.

It does make intuitive sense that Airbnb chooses to focus on these two aspects of the website, in order for users to feel comfortable using their product. Booking out a room that is actually owned by someone else, and feeling 100% comfortable about that experience, is not an easy adjustment for some people. Being able to see visually pleasing photos of rentals on their site, along with the sophisticated layout of the site itself works as a way to combat the uneasy feelings experienced by some.

Design and user friendliness can completely change the way customers view a company which is why Airbnb holds the trust of so many hosts and renters around the world.

-- Sydney

Airbnb Scams You Should Look Out For This Summer

With the abundance of traveling that comes along with the summer season, Airbnb scammers are unfortunately in full swing. In order to make sure a fake Airbnb listing doesn’t ruin your summer travel plans, we’ve compiled three important signs to look out for when booking or hosting a place to stay.

1. Verify the website. A new scam that users are falling victim to involves getting an email linking to a fake Airbnb look-alike website where they will fill out their information, confirm their booking, and only realize there is no actual rental until after they get to their location. According to CBS News, the best way to avoid this scam is to make sure you are booking your Airbnb rental through the official Airbnb website.

2. Make sure you read reviews. This tip that comes from Business Insider and encourages users to read reviews on hosts before booking. If any reviews look out of the ordinary or if the hosts ratings are low in general, its probably best to steer clear.

3. Enlist help from others. Finally, if you’re a host and find your self too busy to manage your Airbnb listing or you're not sure how to weed out bad actors, make sure you use a reputable third party, like MetroButler, to manage your listing for you.

Instead of having to rely on a friend or family member to make sure the stay goes well, you can trust that MetroButler will take care of all your home rental needs. By using the MetroButler Host Dashboard, you can even check in on your listing and view any active rentals, as they're happening.

Make sure you use these tips the next time you use Airbnb and make sure to check out our website to find out more about how MetroButler can help ensure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible. We believe so strongly in safe home management, that we will happily answer any questions during a free in-home consultation for you. Let us know when you want us to stop by!

-- Sydney

New Airbnb Feature Puts High Quality Rentals In The Spotlight

If you’ve always considered your apartment to be above average in terms of quality, you now might be able to show potential guests just how great it really is. A new feature on Airbnb will begin to label certain listings as “premium”. Homes with features such as luxury furniture, high quality bedding and towels, and other similar amenities, will be displayed on a separate premium section of the home sharing website.

The purpose of adding this feature, along with the background check feature mentioned in our previous blog, is to make Airbnb users more comfortable when they are renting out homes from strangers.

This feature also aims to win over those who prefer to stay in hotels that provide luxury amenities as opposed to amenities they could find at their own homes. 

The new premium section of the website will be available later this year and is tentatively named Select, but is expected to rebrand to a new name before official launch.

- Sydney

Airbnb Implementing New Background Check Technology

The idea of letting strangers stay in your home, alone, while you are away, is understandably one of the aspects of Airbnb hosting that is more nerve wracking than others.

Having said that, hosts will soon be able to have further peace of mind while they are renting out their home, once Airbnb completes its purchase of Trooly. Trooly is a startup that produces technology to help conduct background checks on guests and according to Fortune, is able to search information through “search engines, public records, and social messaging services.” This process will help eliminate the process of traditional customer screening by eliminating any need for “conventional background checks or credit card score services.”

Just like Airbnb, MetroButler is constantly working on ways to make the process of renting out your apartment as easy and stress free as possible so you can enjoy being away without having to worry about whether or not your apartment has been left in good hands. Tools like Trooly will continue to improve the experience and enhance safety for all parties. 

 - Sydney

Airbnb's Open Homes Opens Doors To Those In Need

Airbnb’s efforts to make a positive social impact continue with the launch of their new sub-site Open Homes. This new platform differs from the typical way hosts use Airbnb to rent out their homes, instead allowing anyone to sign up and host a person in need of a place to stay.

According to Fortune once a user signs up to be a host, “nonprofits and relief worker agencies then use [the website] to search for temporary housing”. To make it easy for those in need, since many of them do not have any access to a computer or phone, different nonprofit volunteers and relief workers are the ones responsible for booking logistics. The relief groups and nonprofit volunteers do all of the heavy lifting on behalf of the misplaced person, and then pass the home along to the person in need for their use.

Open Homes will also serve as a way for Airbnb to follow through with their statement earlier in the year to house any refugees across the globe, while also letting people who may not typically use their services make a difference and help those in need.

- Sydney

Airbnb Check-In's Finally Get an Upgrade

Yesterday, Airbnb rolled out a new way for guests to check into their home that eliminates difficult instructions, misunderstandings and guess work between guests and hosts.

Since there has been no formal set way to check in before now, hosts would go to great lengths (such as having to take pictures and send detailed instructions to each individual guest) to make sure that their guests first impression of their Airbnb was non-stressful, and that above all, they would know how to be able to actually enter the home without hands-on assistance.

The new update will eliminate the need for hosts to send the same instructions to each new guest and instead contain, according to TechCrunch, an “integrated check in flow within the app and on the web that will show detailed, step-by- step instructions on how to check in.” An email will also be sent to the guest three days prior to check in, containing the instructions.

We are all about making things as user-friendly as possible at MetroButler and it's one of the reasons we provide our own hands on experience during check in, check out, and turn overs.

- Sydney

Airbnb Taking Steps To Get Rid of Racist Hosts in California

Airbnb is no stranger to taking strides towards equality for all, even beyond the walls of their company. Earlier this year, they formed a campaign to raise funds for displaced refugees around the world, looking for shelter and protection in new countries.

Across the world in May, Airbnb Australia created a promise ring, in partnership with eBay, whereby Australian citizens could purchase and wear rings to demonstrate their support for the legalization of LGBT marriages in their country.

Now, Airbnb is taking steps to eliminate racism not only around the world, but also within their own company. After many guests have brought evidence to light indicating racial discrimination by some Airbnb hosts, The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing took action. Airbnb gave the department permission to test for racial biases hosts may use when choosing who rents out their home while they’re away.

Hopefully in the future, more cities will take note of California’s actions and work toward making Airbnb residences across the world equal to all. MetroButler continues to support the fair sharing of homes to all people, from all places, and applauds this step made by Airbnb and the State of California.

- Sydney

Airbnb Advocates Head to Albany

Today, hundreds of New Yorkers will arrive at the state capital to urge lawmakers to support fair home sharing laws. The group is comprised of Airbnb public policy employees, Airbnb hosts, and community leaders, and will mark the 3rd annual trip that Airbnb has organized to Albany. 

This grass-roots efforts comes just a week after Assemblyman Joe Lentol introduced bill A7520, which would allow all New Yorkers to responsibly share their home, pay tourist taxes, and protect public safety. 

MetroButler will be in Albany today, fighting for the rights of thousands of middle class families who rely on home sharing to make ends meet. If you would like to support comprehensive home sharing reform in New York, you can tell your local lawmakers to support A7520, right now.

As Head of New York Public Policy, Josh Meltzer, has noted in the past, "Home sharing is creating economic opportunity for people in every corner of this state — from Jamestown to Cooperstown, Buffalo to Brooklyn, and everywhere in between. In fact, a new report was just unveiled by HR&A Advisors which found that in 2016, Airbnb generated over $3.5 billion in economic activity, supported over 38,000 jobs and created $160 million in state sales, income and business tax revenue."

To learn more about today's activities in Albany, you can check it out here.

MetroButler thanks you for supporting home sharing and we hope to see you in Albany today!

Expansion and Innovation for Airbnb

Brian Chesky, founder and CEO of Airbnb, has been outspoken about the company’s plans to disrupt the previously static hospitality industry. In its progressive stances, willingness to experiment, and rapid expansion, Airbnb is already well on its way to sharing economy domination.

In an interview with Fortune, Chesky sat down to talk over some of these plans, and what he sees as next steps for the company. According to Chesky, part of the disruptive force propelling Airbnb forward comes from the fact that the company is not actually competing much with traditional hotels, contrary to popular opinion. Chesky highlights that Airbnb serves a dramatically different demographic from traditional hotels, as most of its customers would not have taken their trips had Airbnb not been an option.

Chesky emphasizes that Airbnb is not attempting to simply act as a substitute for hotels; rather, the company aims to upend the static hospitality industry to rethink the way we travel. In this quest, Airbnb is already making rapid progress. Through its Airbnb for Business Program, it seeks to grow its business travel segment, an area in which it can grow exponentially, as 70% of all hotel stays in the U.S. are currently booked by business travelers.

The company also recently announced a plan to grow its business in China under a new name and brand, in hopes of succeeding where countless other Western tech firms, including fellow gig economy giant Uber, have failed.

In conjunction with other new additions the company is refining—including its acquisition of vacation rentals manager Luxury Retreat, new features such as “Trips” and “Experiences” enabling users to fuse travel with activities—these initiatives are elements of Airbnb’s overarching goal to become a “one-stop- shop” for travel across the globe.

“So we have this basic “the world is a village” type idea where all these new micro-entrepreneurs can be started,” Chesky concluded. “And that’s kind of a vision of our economy.”

- Namrata

Airbnb Closes $1B Round of Funding

Airbnb recently continued its transformation of the travel industry when the hospitality giant closed a $1 billion round of funding, according to a March 9 CNBC article. The company is now worth an astounding $31 billion.

Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb has raised more than $3 billion. The company also became profitable in the second quarter of 2016, securing enough funds to delay plans to launch an initial public offering (I.P.O.), according to Airbnb’s newly-filed forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Airbnb has long been on the radar as a potential IPO candidate, and its completed funding round comes at the heels of Snap’s I.P.O. Snapchat, whose high private value was similar to Airbnb's, saw its shares seized immediately upon public debut, yielding a $3.4 billion I.P.O.

However, CEO Brian Chesky indicated in an interview with The New York Times that Airbnb would not be opposed to an eventual public offering. 

“I think companies should go public when it’s the best thing for the mission, but we don’t have those immediate needs,” Chesky said. While Airbnb has not released an official statement regarding plans for its newly-acquired capital, the company has recently been harnessing its billions in venture capital funding to make investments of its own. It recently confirmed acquisitions of payments startup Tilt and vacation rentals manager Luxury Retreat for hundreds of millions, in conjunction with announcing its intent to invest in restaurant reservation app Resy.

Coupled with the launch of new features that expand Airbnb’s offerings—such as “Trips” and “Experiences” that enable vacationers to book unique activities through Airbnb’s platform—the investments and the recently-acquired funding set the hospitality company in the perfect position to accomplish its goal of becoming a “one-stop- shop” for travel across the globe.

- Namrata

Airbnb Supports Transgender Student

On February 24, 2017, Airbnb took another stride in its mission to support the disenfranchised.

Along with many other leaders in the fields of technology and innovation, Airbnb plans to sign an “amicus brief”—colloquially referred to as a friend of the court brief—in support of the case of a 17-year-old transgender student in Virginia.

The crux of the case hinges on a high school student’s ability to use the bathrooms corresponding to his chosen gender identity. On February 22nd , 2017, the new presidential administration revoked former President Obama’s guidance that instructed school districts across the nation to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.

The administrative action faced immediate and far-reaching backlash. Notably, many tech companies, ranging from Apple to Box to, of course, Airbnb, have rallied behind the LGBTQIA+ community in fierce support of transgender students’ right to choose which bathroom they would like to use. The supportive reaction aligns with the deep-seated roots many tech companies, including Airbnb, have in liberal San Francisco, an area historically correlated strongly with the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights.

As far as its company ethos goes, Airbnb has left little doubt as to its relentless support for the rights of the disenfranchised and oppressed. Just this year, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky made national headlines when he openly invited victims of the new administration’s crackdown on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries to stay in Airbnb accommodations free of charge.

In recent years, Airbnb has continued to demonstrate its commitment to political discourse and public policy, using its immense resources to influence change, create new policy, and support causes relating to everything from the economy to social justice issues.

- Namrata

Airbnb's Luxury Market Plans

We’re accustomed to thinking of Airbnb as a cheap alternative to hotels, but the hospitality giant is proving it’s more than just a way to save a buck. In a plan to move further into the luxury market, Airbnb is currently in the late stages of acquiring Luxury retreats, a Montreal-based startup that specializes in luxury vacation homes and travel. 

According to TechCrunch, the potential deal for Luxury Retreats is said to be closing at a price around $200 million, rendering it Airbnb’s largest acquisition since its inception in 2008. While neither Airbnb nor Luxury Retreats has publicly confirmed the sale, Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas said in a statement, “We are always looking to provide our community with access to new and different options.”

With this deal, Airbnb harnesses the potential to move into the “luxury” vacation market and appeal to a broader demographic than it currently does. Moreover, given that Luxury Retreats is based in Canada, this deal could represent an opportunity for Airbnb to expand and enrich its Canadian presence.

As Airbnb’s largest acquisition, with over 4,000 properties across the globe, Luxury Retreats’s ethos aligns perfectly with Airbnb’s ambition to diversify its travel services, specifically in terms of targeting upper-class clientele. In November, for example, Airbnb began offering truffle tastings, mushroom hunting and guided tours provided by local experts. The company is looking to expand into other parts of the travel business and is also working on a flight-booking tool.

While Airbnb is by no means unfamiliar with luxury listings (Lady Gaga stayed at a $20 million estate in Houston for the Super Bowl) and there are plenty of castles available to book year-round; the potential acquisition would allow the company to expand its reach even further into this high-end market.

- Namrata

New Animation Features from Airbnb Team

Animation features have long made technological interfaces  more usable, engaging, and interactive. However, they’ve historically been notoriously difficult to integrate into existing platforms.

“Because of this, most apps weren’t using animation—despite it being a powerful tool for communicating ideas and creating compelling user experiences,” the Airbnb team wrote in a recent blog post. “One year ago, we set out to change that.”

“Lottie” is Airbnb’s answer to making animation significantly easier. When the hospitality industry mammoth isn’t changing the nature of travel as we know it, Airbnb engineers have been staying busy with this side project, intended to assist developers create animations. Lottie, an open-source library for iOS, Android, and React Native, renders After Effects animations in real time.

“In the past, building complex animations for Android, iOs, and React apps was a difficult and lengthy process,” the Airbnb team elaborated. They explain that, prior to Lottie, engineers had to either add bulky image files for each screen size, or write a thousand lines of complicated, hard-to-maintain code.

And with the introduction of Lottie, they believe they have succeeded. This tool allows engineers to build richer animations without the overhead of re-writing them. Rather, animations can be made once and used on all platforms.  Lottie will support many After Effects features that allow for more than simple icon animations, including basic line art, character-based animations, and dynamic logo animations with multiple angles and cuts.

Airbnb has already started shipping its Lottie animations on several screens, and plans to greatly expand its usage of animations in a fun, yet useful way moving forward. But they’re far from done. The company emphasizes that they have many ideas for the future, including mapping views to Lottie animations, controlling view transitions with Lottie, and much more.

“The hardest part is picking which features to tackle next,” the post adds.

What's next, indeed?

- Namrata

MetroButler Stands with Airbnb and Against the Refugee Ban

This weekend, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky made international headlines when he said that the company would offer free housing to refugees and anyone else impacted by the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.

“Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected,” Chesky posted on Facebook. “Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone else who needs it in the event they are denied the ability to board a US-bound flight and are not in your city/country of residence.”

In a company-wide email, he elaborated, “This is a policy that I profoundly disagree with, and it is a direct obstacle to our mission at Airbnb.” According to Chesky, the order goes against Airbnb’s core mission; the company’s purpose is to support the international exchange of people and the sharing of property, and the new executive order goes against Airbnb's core concept of “anyone to belong anywhere.” 

In conjunction with the offer for free housing, Chesky added that the company is reaching out to employees affected by the ban, as well as those who work in the U.S. on visas or green cards, to reassure them that they had the “unwavering support of everyone at this company.”

Chesky’s announcement aligns with Airbnb’s preexisting company values. The platform has actively participated in refugee relief efforts for two years, since it first offered free housing to relief workers in Greece, Serbia, and Macedonia in 2015 in addition to incorporating a donation tool into its website so that Airbnb community members could contribute to the refugee crisis.

While it is not yet clear how Chesky’s offer will translate to logistically feasible housing options, an Airbnb spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company will leverage its existing disaster response program, which asks hosts to offer housing to people displaced by natural disasters and to aid workers. Airbnb has promised to share more details about its plan in the near future.

By condemning the new administration’s actions, Chesky has joined the ranks of numerous tech executives openly denouncing the refugee ban. However, Airbnb’s decision takes the verbal support of refugess a step further, by providing a tactical solution to combat the ban, as well.

At MetroButler, we fully support and applaud the actions of Airbnb and Brian Chesky’s leadership. MetroButler stands with them and MetroButler stands with all oppressed, disenfranchised, and underrepresented portions of the population that bring diversity and exceptionalism to the United States of America. 

- Namrata

New Administration...New Regulations?

As a new administration settles into the White House, the executive stances on many issues have been relatively open to interpretation, to date. One area where this holds true is the administration's views on the future of the sharing economy. This is an especially interesting case given the President's past business experience in the hospitality industry. 

In the past, politicians’ stances on issues like regulation, trade, and taxes have severely impacted the sharing economy. For example, cities in New York, California, and Washington have delineated rigid rules on Airbnb’s operations, whereas states like Louisiana are more lenient.

Although the President has not yet publicly shared his views on the sharing economy, a CNET article examined his general policies to find clues about what his plans might be.

"There is no doubt he understands the sharing economy, and as a hotel/resort operator, he certainly gets the Airbnb, Uber and Lyft models", said Kathleen Smith, principal at RenaissanceCapital, which helps institutions invest in newly public companies. 

Nick Papas, Airbnb spokesman, believes that the administration's pick for labor secretary, Andrew Pudzer, would appreciate Airbnb’s platform. Pudzer is known for being supportive of entrepreneurship and deregulation. "Both Democrats and Republicans spent much of 2016 talking about how to help the middle class. Airbnb helps middle-class families by allowing them to use their house -- typically their greatest expense -- to generate supplemental income", Nick Papas said.

Another potential area of contention is Airbnb’s efforts to expand globally. A new approach to foreign policy coupled with a changing view of U.S. relations with the countries in which Airbnb operates, could affect the company’s business. For example, Airbnb is currently working to enter the Chinese hospitality market; however, if U.S.-Chinese trade relations are altered, this could have an effect on Airbnb's international growth plans in that country. 

In the coming months, support for entrepreneurial efforts, a desire to provide innovative revenue generating opportunities for middle-class Americans, and the U.S.'s evolving stance on international business will be the ultimate drivers in the future success of the sharing economy. 

—Namrata

What It Takes to be a Superhost

Airbnb describes Superhosts as experienced hosts who “provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests.” Research suggests that only 7% of hosts attain Superhost status, as to do so requires consistent five-star reviews and vast hosting experience. However, the label pays off: these guests garner more visibility in search results, invitations from the company to exclusive events, and a “Superhost” medal next to their Airbnb profile pictures.

Clearly, becoming an Airbnb Superhost is the gold standard for anyone interested in hosting guests through the platform. But, of course, getting there isn’t easy. Luckily for us, Brian X. Chen recently detailed his experience as a Superhost in an article in The New York Times, and shared lots of useful tidbits on how to achieve this coveted status. Here they are:

Hospitality, Not Real Estate:

According to Chen, the single most important element to remember on your route to becoming a Superhost is that guests are choosing your listing over a hotel. Therefore, you should be as friendly, hospitable, and communicative as a hotel. Provide living staples, such as towels, toothpaste, cooking equipment, etc., and be extremely responsive to guests.

Set Expectations:

Be completely honest about your listing; otherwise, your dishonesty will backfire when it comes time for a guest to leave a review. Be straightforward about any imperfections in the offering.

Solve Problems Quickly:

Don’t hesitate to address complaints. Send a plumber if a dishwasher breaks, or have a backup remote ready in case the first is misplaced. To take this step to the next level, Chen suggests hiring someone trustworthy in the neighborhood who can act as a property manager. (Editor's Note: We suggest hiring MetroButler instead!). 

Make Cleanliness a Priority:

Due to varying standards of cleanliness across the world, Chen recommends hiring professional cleaners to ensure positive feedback from guests.

Set Prices Based on Demand:

The goal of any host is to make a profit, and to do so, hosts should recognize that demand may be higher at certain times of the year. Be sure to set prices higher during peak rental seasons, and reduce prices during slow seasons.

Get the Guests You Want:

Despite Airbnb’s anti-discrimination policy that encourages hosts to welcome guests regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and age, Chen urges hosts to reserve the right to decide what types of groups they would like host. If your city forbids loud parties past 10 p.m., understand the feasibility of hosting large groups of college students hoping to party.

Document Everything:

Finally, Chen emphasizes the importance of documenting everything of value in your house—countertops, the refrigerator, the stove, the dining table, the television set. If anything is damaged, Airbnb will ask for before-and- after photos to prove that guests caused the damage.

With these tips, you're well on your way to hosting the perfect home. That said, you can always call in the professionals! You know we'd be happy to help. 

—Namrata

Airbnb Invests in Restaurant App, Resy

2017 has barely begun, but the hospitality industry is already making strides to put its mark on the year! On January 9th, the giant of the sharing economy, Airbnb, announced that it would be investing in Resy, an app designed to facilitate restaurant reservations.

Rapidly-growing Airbnb is one of the most highly-funded startups in the world. The company has raised over $3 billion in funding, and is currently valued by investors at $30 billion. Now, Airbnb is looking to place some investments in other companies as well.

“Helping people find and book incredible local restaurants is a key part of us moving beyond just accommodation to focus on the whole trip,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement.

Resy, a feature-based app that differentiates itself by not charging diners a booking fee, aims to curate restaurants lists for each customer, so that each customer sees only restaurant choices that may appeal to them. This aligns with Airbnb’s ambition to create a more immersive travel experience. Within the next few months, Airbnb will integrate Resy into its own app, allowing for reservations to be made through the Airbnb app, and the startups have already partnered together on Trips.

Ultimately, Airbnb hopes to harness Resy’s table-booking services to expand beyond just home-sharing, constituting part of its plan to become the world’s first one-stop shop for travelers. At MetroButler, we can’t wait to see how this investment shapes the future of Airbnb—and, to a greater extent, the hospitality industry at large.

--Namrata

New Tech for the New Year

With just a few days left in 2016, we in the hospitality industry are all asking the same question: after such a successful year, what can we look forward to in 2017? This was clearly on Brian Chesky’s mind too; the Airbnb co-founder and CEO asked the Airbnb community via social media what the company’s users would like to see in 2017. Interestingly, many users responded with Bitcoin payment integration.

Bitcoin, an innovative open-source payment system with a public design, allows for faster monetary transactions, worldwide payments, lower processing fees, and other uses that have elevated it over other payment systems in the public eye. Notably, Airbnb competitor and renowned travel company, Expedia, has experienced considerable success in their integration of the Bitcoin payment system. Expedia Vice President of Global Product, Michael Gulmann, explained that Bitcoin functionality is initially only available for hotel bookings, but that the company would “absolutely, absolutely, absolutely” expand into full-scale Bitcoin acceptance with sufficient customer support.

Chesky reacted to Airbnb users’ desire for Bitcoin integration with astonishment. “Wow didn’t realize this,” he wrote in response to a tweet explaining Expedia’s new Bitcoin payment system implementation. Ultimately, he expressed pleasant surprise by the number of users willing to give more business to the Airbnb platform if the company begins to accept Bitcoin payments.

We at MetroButler are excited by this potential new development in the sharing economy. Bitcoin can minimize the transaction fees that Airbnb users are forced to face through their credit card or PayPal transactions. As this change could represent a mutually beneficial relationship between two growing companies, we are eagerly looking forward to what 2017 could hold for the future of the hospitality industry.

- Namrata

Another Month, Another Tourism Partnership!

Today, MetroButler is happy to announce a partnership with on-demand mobile concierge startup, Headout. Headout’s Android, iOS and desktop-based platform makes vacationing more exciting by connecting travelers with local activities at discounted prices. With near-perfect ratings on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, this app makes discovering and booking fun activities extremely easy and effortless.

As part of this partnership, every visitor staying at a MetroButler property will receive a package of exclusive and discounted activities, courtesy of Headout. Activities offered by Headout include tickets to hit Broadway shows, access to New York’s best observatory decks, one-of-a-kind helicopter tours, and dozens of museums. Travelers of all ages and interests will find something on Headout to make their vacation even more special.

MetroButler is always looking for ways to enhance the Guest experience, as we welcome visitors from all corners of the world into our properties. One way we know we can achieve this is by serving as useful guides and connecting Guests to the greatest activities in our home city. We can think of no better way to exemplify this, than through our partnership with Headout.

- Jon