Airbnb Expands Safety Support for 11 Languages

Airbnb announced recently that the company is expanding its safety support line to offer assistance to users in 11 new languages.

The travel company launched the Urgent Support Line for English-speaking users back in Dec. 2020, after piloting the feature during the year prior. The feature was developed to put travelers in touch with safety specialists who are on call 24/7 to help accommodate travelers who encounter urgent and dangerous situations. 

“This is particularly important for guests traveling internationally, where they may not know off the top of their heads the right phone number to reach local authorities in the event of an emergency,” the company wrote in a blog post on Oct. 27.

In its initial launch, the feature was only available to users who had identified English as their primary language, though it is now available for speakers of Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Korean, Dutch, Spanish, Malay, German, Czech, Italian, and Hungarian. The Urgent Support Line is intended for use during a traveler’s stay at an Airbnb in the event of an emergency — as such, the feature is available for users beginning 24 hours before their trip and they can access it until 24 hours after their trip has ended.

The Urgent Support Line is a part of the company’s Safety Center tool, which was launched in 2019. The company notes that the Urgent Support Line is intended for travelers to use when they encounter threats to physical safety, have time-sensitive medical issues that may require re-accommodation, or have lost or stolen property, among other instances. In addition to the Urgent Support Line, the Safety Center also provides users with access to local emergency lines as well.

The company has upped its security measures in recent years following a widely publicized safety scandal back in 2019. The company introduced its first ban on one-night reservations from users who did not have a positive rating on the app for certain listings on the weekend of Halloween 2020, a year after the widely publicized shooting that killed five people at an unauthorized party taking place in an Airbnb on Halloween 2019. The company stated that the ban reduced the number of unauthorized parties in Airbnbs by roughly 49% in 2020.

“Safety issues during Airbnb reservations are extremely rare, but when they happen, we provide quick support from our highly-trained crisis support team members to help our Hosts and guests de-escalate the situations and prioritize their safety,” the company wrote.

Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.

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