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The Street
The Street
Rob Lenihan

Airbnb Will Soon Add a Hotel-Like Requirement

Rene Descartes may have said "I think, therefore I am," but if the French philosopher wants to stay at an Airbnb (ABNB), he'd better be packing some valid ID.

The short-term rental company has announced that it will now require all users booking reservations on its platform to verify their identity to do so.

The requirement is slated to begin this spring and asks for credentials like a photo of a valid government-issued ID or legal name and address.

Tara Bunch, global head of operations at Airbnb, told CNBC recently that while 80% of the rental platform’s bookings already feature identity verification as something hosts can request, the company is taking this additional step.

“When you take away the anonymity of not being identify verified, I think it opens up the perception that people could behave badly and not be held accountable, and by definition, tends to cause people to behave a little bit better because they know they will be held accountable for bad actions,” Bunch said.

While hotels require guests to show identification, most other vacation rental platforms, like Expedia Group’s (EXPE) Vrbo, don’t require identification verification but do allow guests or hosts on the platform to submit their information. 

Bunch said there have been instances of financial fraud schemes where unverified users have looked to use stolen credit cards via fake identities, or even looked to move money between fictional guest and host combos.

Airbnb's No Party Policy Goes Global

Airbnb made its global policy prohibiting the use of its rentals for parties a permanent rule last year after people were using the service to host gatherings and outsource party cleanup.

The company was one of the big winners from the shift in the U.S. psyche during the covid-19 pandemic as tens of millions of workers suddenly became untethered to the places they once called home.

Airbnb is scheduled to report fourth quarter and full year results on Feb. 14. Last month, UBS analyst Lloyd Walmsley raised his price target to $114 from $112 while keeping a neutral rating on the shares.

The travel recovery is holding up better than feared, despite concerns on how the macro environment could weigh on leisure travel, Walmsley said a research note.

In November, Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky said that the third quarter “was our biggest and most profitable quarter ever despite geopolitical and macroeconomic headwinds.”

Chesky said guest demand had remained strong during the quarter and there was strong growth in the number of new hosts on Airbnb.

“Just like during the Great Recession in 2008 when Airbnb started, people are especially interested in earning extra income through hosting,” he said. 

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