Airbnb Drops Homejoy From Cleaning Trial, Handybook Remains On In Three Test Markets

Earlier this year, Airbnb began testing a cleaning service for hosts that would be offered at a slight discount to traditional maid services they'd book themselves. The idea was to improve the quality of the guest experience while offering a perk to hosts who frequently make their homes available to strangers. On the flip side, it had the potential to drive incremental volume to a couple of cleaning startups that it had partnered with for the trial. Last week, however, it notified hosts that one of the two startups it had partnered with for the trial would no longer be available for booking. The partner being left behind is Homejoy, while Handybook will remain on as part of the trial. The cleaning trial began in Airbnb's home market of San Francisco, and over time expanded to New York and Los Angeles. Those were three markets that both Homejoy and Handybook operated in. Late last year it hired a new head of hospitality, Chip Conley, to improve its quality of service and has been gradually looking to standardize expectations for homes that are listed on the platform. While Airbnb has been careful to message the service as a test it could make more widely available to hosts in the future, cleaning is an obvious differentiator as the company is trying to position itself as a global hospitality brand. An earlier FAQ for hosts mentions both Homejoy and Handybook as partners for the trial, but last week Airbnb emailed hosts to tell them that Handybook would be the company's partner for cleanings going forward. For Handybook, the change could mean a small increase in volume in a few of the markets it operates in. Having Airbnb as a partner could also help drive adoption in other markets, if the company decides to make cleaning services available in other cities. A representative from Homejoy confirmed that it was no longer working with Airbnb on the trial with the following statement: After careful consideration we decided to end our partnership together with Airbnb. Though we enjoyed collaborating with Airbnb, our focus remains on growing our core business globally and bringing happy homes to our community and improving the lives of our home service professionals. Here's the email sent to Airbnb hosts: Hi [XXXX], We have an important update to share with you! Airbnb Cleaning is now partnering with Handybook in San Francisco. Hosts like you have told us that reliability and quality are paramount when it comes to a great cleaning service. We’ve built a successful product with Handybook in New York that focuses on these top priorities: 1) Reliability Handybook guarantees service for any cleanings scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. In case of emergency, Handybook has a response team that ensures your guests arrive to a clean listing. 2) Quality Handybook selects their top-rated cleaners for Airbnb hosts. These cleaners receive special Airbnb training so they understand what’s most important to hosts and guests. To make this transition seamless, Handybook will use the same cleaning preferences you’ve already set. If Homejoy has your keys, we’ll reach out to you about transferring them to Handybook or returning them to you. Take a look at Handybook’s pricing, below, which varies slightly from Homejoy’s. We’re excited to introduce you to Handybook’s cleaning service! Our goal is to make hosting easier for you, so if you have any questions simply reply to this email and we’ll get back to you right away. Best, The Airbnb Cleaning Team
Ryan Lawler

Ryan Lawler is a Writer at Gigabuzz, focused on covering early-stage startups, especially those with a technology focus and great perks.

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