Airbnb’s New Work-From-Anywhere Policy Leaves You Wondering — Who’s Next?

Skift grip

If Airbnb sells the dream, it must also live from it. Other travel companies that have used work-from-anywhere messaging in their marketing for the past two years are likely to do the same.

Matthew Parson

Are we surprised that Airbnb is offering fully remote work opportunities to its employees? Of course not. It’s selling the dream, so the short-term rental giant has to live with it too.

UK chief executive Amanda Cupples alluded to it last month at the Skift Forum Europe when asked if Airbnb would extend its work-from-anywhere policy beyond September: “We will follow the conversation we’re talking about.”

Who else will follow suit?

That a brand as recognizable and global as Airbnb has made progress in this area is a major statement. In fact, most online agencies, accommodation players and other travel agencies will have integrated, if not front and center, work-from-anywhere messaging into their marketing over the past couple of years. .

Airbnb’s Thursday announcement by CEO Brian Chesky comes as the lines blur between work, home and life in general. This forces a change of strategy, as companies and more and more travel players seek opportunities in a world of remote work. Everyone is navigating their way through the post-pandemic landscape.

Yet few big-league companies in the travel industry have committed to a remote stance like this, or at least publicly. tour operator TUI went remote last year, UK, including offering its resorts around the world as employee benefits. Ride-sharing company Lyft last month announced a fully flexible workplace. (For the record, Skift abandoned its offices during the pandemic and became as a fully “dispersed” global enterprise.)

But most are probably, perhaps dangerously, waiting on the sidelines. Speaking at the 2021 Skift Global Forum, Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel said he appreciated the “great abandonment” taking place around the world, but at the time he said he first wanted to experiment with office reopenings, and examine the data. The pandemic wasn’t quite over, after all. This is still not the case.

Sure, there’s an element that Airbnb’s move is a recruiting tool, but it challenges others to do the same. An explosion of new job advertisements are now fully promoting “Remote” as a selling point.

Perhaps most importantly, Airbnb’s policy will leverage its hospitality network so employees can make the most of their flexible future. You couldn’t ask for a more defining example of the blurring of lines between our work and professional lives.

There’s no reason why countless other travel companies can’t offer a similar fusion between their own work culture and the actual product they sell. Airbnb is drawing a line in the sand, and that may be the push they need.