Airbnb has signed an historic agreement with Auckland Council to provide accommodation support in the event of natural disasters.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will enable Airbnb to provide free temporary accommodation to residents impacted by disasters in the region.
Under the terms of the MoU with Auckland Council, Airbnb’s disaster response tool will:
- Make all Airbnb bookings in areas affected by a natural disaster fee-free.
- Mobilise the Airbnb host community in the affected area, asking them if they are able to hel.p
- Connect guests to hosts that have space to offer in the affected area via a dynamic landing page.
- Allow local residents with extra space to host those in need.
- Provide Airbnb’s 24/7 customer support, Trust & Safety tools, Host Guarantee and other services regularly available to Airbnb hosts.
- Provide general disaster response information to guests and hosts.
Looking after each other
Mayor Len Brown says the agreement, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, highlights the need for Aucklanders to look after each other following a disaster.
“The experience following the Christchurch earthquakes shows New Zealanders will open up their homes to those who require help, whether they be displaced families or emergency service workers. The agreement with Airbnb helps to make this process easier.”
Julian Persaud, Airbnb’s Regional Director, Asia Pacific, says the MoU will effectively connect Airbnb hosts and Aucklanders offering extra space with displaced residents in their time of need.
“While disasters of scale are thankfully rare, we are proud to have an opportunity to partner with the Auckland Council and our host community in Auckland to play a pivotal role in supporting disaster relief efforts if and when needed.”
Being prepared for a disaster
Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Director John Dragicevich says the agreement is another example of the city working with different groups to prepare for emergency situations.
“Emergency services, charities and government agencies all work with Auckland Council to prepare for disasters. This agreement is a great example of private enterprise stepping up and working with the council to provide the promise of help during times of need.”
Airbnb's disaster response tool
Since its launch in 2013, Airbnb’s disaster response tool has been deployed in various capacities around the world, including the Nepal earthquake, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano eruption, and flooding in southern France, Liguria, the Balkans, London, Sardinia, and Colorado.
Airbnb has signed similar agreements with Victoria in Australia and Alberta in Canada.
During the past year, the number of Airbnb listings in New Zealand has doubled to over 16,000, including more than 4,000 listings in Auckland.
The estimated population of Auckland Council's region is 1,570,000 (during June 2015), making it by far the biggest local authority in Australasia.
Auckland is susceptible to a wide variety of hazards ranging from rare events such as a volcanic eruption sitting as it does in a field of more than 50 volcanic cones to tornadoes, tsunami, earthquakes and more frequent events such as flooding, electricity outages and fire.