back to top

Airbnb Asks Guests If They Feel Safe Traveling On Airbnb

A regularly conducted survey asks Airbnb users to rank the company's trustworthiness, among other things.

Posted on

When Airbnb's founders were first pitching their idea, one of the biggest criticisms was, according to the company's own origin story, why on earth would anyone let a total stranger stay in their home?

For the most part, the home-sharing startup's massive user base and eye-popping $25 billion valuation have satisfied that concern. But occasionally, things do go awry — in some cases, very awry. Like, unsanctioned-orgy and meth-lab-mystery awry.

My entire apartment was just absolutely demolished by @airbnb guest :(

@laurenleto @Airbnb Omg that's terrible. Were pots and pans destroyed too?

@starkness @Airbnb yes! How did you know?!?!


Stories like these garner a lot of attention. Over the winter holidays, a spate of parties, including one thrown by a teenaged Californian posing as a middle aged midwesterner, made headlines. In these situations, Airbnb tends to play it cool, pointing to its $1 million insurance policy, also called a "Host Guarantee."

But a survey circulated by the company among a group of both hosts and guests suggests that issues of safety and trust, among other factors, are a concern for the company, and have been for some time. Among around a dozen other questions, Airbnb asked users to complete the sentence "If things go wrong, Airbnb is..." on a scale of "never there for me" and "always there for me."

Here are a couple of the other things they asked:

The survey also asked users how likely they were to recommend the site to a friend, and how frequently they book trips using Airbnb. In a statement, an Airbnb spokesperson said, "We regularly survey our community to understand how we can continue to create meaningful experiences on Airbnb."

Caroline O'Donovan is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Caroline O'Donovan at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.