During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many Airbnb users offered up their homes to those affected by the storm. This behaviour inspired the company to get involved as well, who have recently decided to make disaster relief a permanent part of their website.
This particular tool can be activated in less than 30 minutes and includes features such as making a booking in areas affected by natural disaster for free, connect guests to hosts that have space to offer via a dynamic landing page as well as provide general disaster response information.
Airbnb helps to fill a gap in the effectiveness of responses to natural disasters – especially as their is currently no good way to find out if and where there is space to stay in the local community. On a more basic level it shows that communities are willing to help each other, provided they have an efficient way to interact.
All that remains is to ensure the company creates awareness about this tool, that way people know what their options are when a disaster does strike, instead of feeling helpless in their situation. Either way, it’s a triumph for businesses reacting in a time of need and realising that they can make a difference.