By Hannah Sampson
Airbnb promises “unique stays and experiences” for guests. Now one of those experiences can include bunking with the company’s co-founder and CEO.
Brian Chesky revealed on Wednesday that he is listing a private room – actually, a “thoughtfully designed suite featuring personal photos and artefacts from the early days of Airbnb” – in his San Francisco home for rent on the platform.
The price: $0. The availability, as of Thursday morning: also zero.
“I had some weekends available in January, February and March, but they booked out even before I posted this,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I’ll keep opening more weekends throughout the year.”
In the listing, he promises access to a full bathroom with a large shower, use of a “spacious chef’s kitchen,” views of the Castro neighbourhood and time with him and his dog, Sophie.
The house rules note that there is 24/7 security at the home, parties and drugs are not allowed and guests will need to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19, including at least one booster.
Chesky is opening up his home as the company seeks to attract more new hosts to the platform.
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) November 17, 2022
In updates this week, Airbnb rolled out new tools to make it easier for people to put their homes on the platform and increased damage protection for hosts from $1 million (R17.3m) to $3m.
Addressing widespread complaints from users that fees and chores were driving them to hotels, the company also announced earlier this month it would change the way prices are shown and encourage hosts not to make “unreasonable” requests.
During an interview on “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday, co-host Gayle King said Chesky’s home-sharing experiment seemed risky.
“I wanted to show people that it’s not that risky,” he said.
“I wanted to show people if I, the founder of Airbnb could do it, then you can do it as well.”
He has also been a long-term guest: in January, he said he would stay in homes in new places every few weeks, returning to home base in San Francisco like so many other remote workers.
It’s also not Chesky’s first foray into hosting. In the earliest days of the company, he and a roommate blew up airbeds for three guests in 2007. The venture was initially known as “AirBed & Breakfast”.
He revealed in 2015 that he still sometimes rented out his couch, according to media reports. Past guests have lauded the “comfy couch,” welcome basket and morning yoga session.
His reviews date back to the year Airbnb officially launched, 2008. The first is from co-founder and former roommate Joe Gebbia: “I’ve seen him host in action, and it’s not to be missed.”
Read the latest issue of IOL Travel digital magazine.