How we’re giving hosts a seat at the table
As Airbnb prepares to become a public company, we’re putting our partnership with hosts at the center. After working with host leaders around the world, we’re launching a formal program to give hosts a seat at the table, and an opportunity to take part in our company’s success.It’s made up of two equally important parts:
- Airbnb Host Advisory Board: A diverse group of hosts on Airbnb who meet regularly with Airbnb executives to represent the host community's voice and make sure that hosts’ ideas are heard
- Airbnb Host Endowment: A fund that is intended to provide support to our host community now and in the future, which we expect will be initially funded with 9.2 million shares of Airbnb stock
Giving you a seat at the table means investing in programs and initiatives that support the host community—and helping to ensure that your voices are heard as we take our next step as a company.
We know you have questions, so here are some answers.
What is the role of the Host Advisory Board? What will they have the ability to influence?
The Advisory Board will be a voice for Airbnb hosts with Airbnb leadership. We expect that Advisory Board members will meet with Airbnb on a monthly basis, and have an official Advisory Board Forum
with executives each year to present proposals gathered from the host community—in addition to sharing regular updates with the community on our progress.
One important part of their role is informing how we choose to invest the Airbnb Host Endowment when funding is available for distribution. This could include policy changes, grant programs, and new product concepts. Before that, the Advisory Board will still have the ability to influence Airbnb’s roadmap and long-term plans.
Who will make up the Host Advisory Board and how were they selected?
For 2021, the Advisory Board will be made up of 10 to 15 members of our Host Leaders program—including hosts who are active in our Community Center. Care was taken to ensure diverse representation, inclusive of region, race, gender, socioeconomic background, and host type.
Their initial term will last for one year, and they’ll be responsible for determining the criteria and selection process for future Advisory Board members. You can expect an introduction to them by the end of the year.
How will the Host Advisory Board represent me to Airbnb leadership?
The role of the Advisory Board is to help ensure hosts have a seat at the table.
- They’ll be a formal link between Airbnb hosts and Airbnb leadership, participating in monthly meetings with Airbnb and an official Advisory Board Forum each year to present hosts’ ideas
- They’ll share decisions and updates from their meetings with the host community on a regular basis
- For the inaugural group, they’ll also determine the selection process for future Advisory Board members and develop a formal process for gathering ideas from the host community
How can I submit an idea? How will I know if it’s actually considered?
We’ll be working with the inaugural Host Advisory Board to build a formal process for hosts to submit ideas that will be brought to Airbnb leaders in official Advisory Board forums. We plan to share more detail on this when we introduce Advisory Board members.
What is an endowment?
An endowment is a financial entity used to hold funds—in this case stock—intended for specific causes or programs specified by an organization. In many cases, they’re associated with nonprofit organizations or universities.
They allow for long-term support by holding a “principal” (in this case, a goal of $1 billion), and making investments of interest or growth on the principal, when available.
Here’s an example. A university might have a $100 million endowment, which grows 5% per year from interest. That gives the university $5 million per year to invest in things like scholarships without depleting the fund.
What is the Airbnb Host Endowment?
If Airbnb is successful, hosts should have a share of that success. The Host Endowment is a fund created by Airbnb that we expect will be initially funded with 9.2 million shares of Airbnb stock. If and when it reaches $1 billion in value, we plan to begin using amounts in excess of $1 billion to fund programs and proposals that support hosts on Airbnb.
A key piece of feedback we received from hosts as we designed this program was to allow for flexibility. That’s why we’ll solicit new ideas and feedback from the host community on how the endowment can be used—and why the programs we fund year to year may change based on that feedback.
How will the endowment be distributed?
The endowment was created to benefit hosts, and the distribution of funds in a given year will be shaped by host feedback and our Host Advisory Board. It could be focused on a small group of hosts who need support or have reached a certain milestone—or invested in a new product that benefits everyone.
Examples of potential programs that came up in host workshops include:
- Emergency funds for hosts in times of crisis
- Investment in new products to support host success
- An annual payout to a select group of hosts who most advance the Airbnb mission
- Grant programs to support education costs for hosts and their families
This program will be flexible, and based on learnings from the 2020 Superhost Relief Fund, hosts will have the ability to influence how it is invested in the community each year there is a distribution.We want the Advisory Board's guidance from the beginning, so we will be meeting with them by the end of the year to consult with them on our approach.
Who will decide how the money is used?
Our intention is to create a lasting endowment that will benefit hosts and be shaped by hosts’ ideas and feedback. While Airbnb will ultimately have sole decision making authority as to how to distribute funds, we will do so with advice and feedback from the host community.
The Host Advisory Board will meet with Airbnb executives on a regular basis to bring ideas forward—including official Advisory Board Forums to surface ideas from the host community.
If the company has final say in where the money goes, is the endowment really shaped by hosts?
This program will only be successful if hosts feel empowered and supported by it, which is why we see it as one part of a larger whole. Our intention is to create a set of programs that give hosts a voice, a formal proposal process, and a meaningful fund to shape how we invest in the host community over time.
While Airbnb will have sole decision making on all investments, the proposals we fund will come from or be shaped by our host community.
Why are you waiting until the endowment reaches $1 billion in value before drawing from the fund?
The endowment is a long-term investment in our hosts, and it’s intended to exist as long as Airbnb does. We want that success to be able to support not just hosts today, but future hosts who join the Airbnb community.
Allowing the endowment to grow to an initial $1 billion will give us more opportunities to draw from it for new proposals and programs in the future, to help ensure funding of hosts’ proposals over an extended period of time.
We’ll keep you regularly informed on what the value of the fund is, and prior to reaching the $1 billion threshold, we’ll continue to gather feedback and proposals from the community and fund them as we would today.
What if the value of the endowment decreases or never reaches $1 billion?
We’re hoping the endowment will reach $1 billion in value, and we may make additional stock contributions, up to a total of 2% of the company’s value, to the endowment over time.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to invest in ideas and proposals that come from the host community as we do today, with the help and influence of our Host Advisory Board.
What are Airbnb’s community grants and how do they work?
In advance of the endowment reaching $1 billion in value, we plan to make $10 million in grants each year, funded directly by Airbnb, to support nonprofit organizations or initiatives in hosts’ local communities. The Host Advisory Board will have the ability to influence who we support based on host feedback.
How did you develop these initiatives?
We developed these initiatives with extensive host feedback. Through a series of workshops and focus groups with a wide range of hosts, we began gathering feedback in 2019 and 2020. The full scope will be designed in partnership with hosts—which is not only true to our vision, but a direct result from our workshops with hosts over the past year.