Airbnb and Quality

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Airbnb is a hospitality company founded in 2008 with its headquarters in San Francisco. It is a community-based company which has gained trust from different communities as one of the most trusted market places. This market place enables people to discover, list, and even book special accommodations on an online platform. It is considered as the effective and efficient way to monetise extra space and display it to millions of people.

Airbnb has received media focus on issues pertaining to the provision of unreliable services. It is estimated that almost a million people may have fallen victims to issues of fraud relating to Airbnb. Bookings estimated to be 1.1 million in number were cancelled in what is believed to happen during the last minute leaving holidaymakers stranded in cities which they are unfamiliar with. There have been claims of bad experiences, the unhelpful and rude nature of the company, and cases of failure to refund customers. This has resulted in negative reviews on trust pilot concerning customer service and provisions of bookings.

Despite this, Airbnb is still expanding, generating revenues and recording growth. The financial year that ended in September 2017, Airbnb recorded one billion dollars profit from five hundred million dollars in the same period in 2016 (Ju, 57).

Task 1

A number of organizations across the globe have increased their focus on quality in order to restore competitive edges they have. They understand that focus on quality will help in improving the organization’s productivity and cut costs. Juran, considered a guru sees quality the way Deming does-another guru-that quality is defined by the consumer. He refers it as “fitness for use”, which is broken into two parts; freedom from deficiencies and product features that meet customer wants and needs.  For the first objective to be achieved, he suggests that the producer should know what the customer expects from a product. It also involves finding out the end customer. The main work here is to translate the demand into the desired specification, production, features and design a sound plan for producing them. The other objective is met by measuring the output of production and how these products are received in the marketplace. Comparing the desired results with the actual ones and working on deficiencies and providing the system with feedback ensures that improvement is achieved.  

According to Joseph Juran quality management has the following timeline figured out in three activities namely; quality control, quality planning, and quality improvement collectively referred to as the Juran Trilogy. These activities intend to be viewed as a loop of feedbacks covering service and manufacturing. Unlike Joseph Juran, Deming views quality problems as a product of poor understanding of the organization’s system; Juran believes that planning a system in a proper way at the start can assist producers in avoiding issues of hidden quality and reworks.

Task 2

Reasons for poor quality

Edwards Deming suggests that there are diseases for management that he considers fatal and serious barriers to quality improvement, and effectiveness. According to him employing a review system that is tasked in evaluating merit ratings, performance and employees annual reviews is among these barriers to better quality. This is one of the reasons for poor quality in Airbnb. Airbnb is considered a two-way marketplace as users are allowed to rent a place to stay through the site, while on the other end; the host use the marketplace to figure out temporary renters. This facilitates the host and the user the chance to review each other. This set up is marred by the issue of anonymity as the reviews are not anonymous which puts pressure on users to post reviews that are positive. Customers who have had unsatisfactory stay in the company’s property and comments on their experiences, their names get attached to the review they have left for quite a long time. This may deter customers who have had experiences with the company to refrain from giving honest reviews. Future hosts who come across negative customer reviews may be reluctant to offer services to such a customer for fear of another bad review (Ross, 30).

According to Joseph Juran an organization requires projects that aim at solving problems as steps to attaining better quality. If a company like in this case Airbnb assumes projects that increase a problem it becomes hard for them to attain better quality. Airbnb has been linked to illegal sub-letting. According to statistics in Australia close to thirty five percent of Airbnb listings are by individuals who do not own the property and conduct businesses without the knowledge of the landlord. This is an example of a company getting involved in projects that increase the problem of illegal sub-letting which has been linked to security and safety issues.

Philip Crosby comes up with fourteen steps aimed at improving quality one of those steps being, taking immediate action to correct problems identified. Airbnb has had a number of accusations that they are guilty of leaving its customers vulnerable to fraud. The number of Airbnb customers who have fallen victims to scammers is growing; they fall victims while making efforts to book a break through the British holiday rental website. The failure of Airbnb to solve such issues by responding to them immediately has made it efforts in improving quality futile, leaving the company with poor quality services (Webster, 17).

Impact of poor quality on Airbnb

Reputation

Poor customer service quality has negatively affected the Airbnb reputation. It has put the organization in a tough situation as it has appeared a number of times for all the wrong reasons. Complaints resulting from the company’s poor customer service quality have put Airbnb at risk of destroying its reputation. The already tainted negative reputation is not that easy to remedy, as the company has to convince a huge chunk of customers that they are focused on providing quality customer experience with every interaction.

Loss of Existing customers

It is estimated that 30 percent of customers who have had a bad experience with the company will stop doing business with it. Airbnb has lost a number of customers following the bad experiences that customers have undergone in the hands of Airbnb. Bad experiences will make even loyal customers to move to a competitor which is a company’s worst nightmare. Airbnb has lost customers to its competitors as they do not feel valued by the company’s customer service.

Loss of future customers

Studies indicate that over 90 percent of customers will inform a friend of an experience they consider to be poor from a company. The probability of customers sharing negative experience to a friend always exceeds the positive one. Airbnb has seen negative experiences with customers getting more focus and coverage than the positive experiences. It is an experience that can only be equated to shooting oneself in the foot as negative experiences costs the business’s future in a number of ways (dos, 50).

Task 3

Recommendations to Airbnb

Airbnb can apply Crosby’s quality vaccine approach as a way for the company to prevent poor quality and also utilize total quality management approaches. Airbnb should implement quality controls in order to promote continual communication. Communication is an important aspect in any organization. Airbnb should therefore streamline communication in order to ensure that the company can communicate requirements, specifications, and improvement options of the company. The company should take a lead in listening to its operatives and customers keenly and incorporate this feedback in order to attain an edge over such competition. For the company’s day-to-day operations and organizational change, effective communication helps the management in maintain morale and also motivating employees across all departments. Communication is a process that includes method, timeliness and strategies.

Airbnb should increase its focus on customers as they (customers) determine the level of an organization’s quality. If Airbnb increases its efforts in integrating quality with the design process, buying new measurement tools, and upgrading software or computers; customers who determine these efforts will positively impact the company in terms of quality and reputation.

Airbnb should also ensure total employee participation as they are involved in working towards common goals. For total employee commitment to be achieved there is need for fear to be removed from workplace, the management should provide a proper environment, and empower its employees. Airbnb can benefit greatly from the integration of improvement efforts with normal organization operations through a high performance work system.

The company’s management should also implement a systematic and strategic approach so that they may achieve Airbnb’s goals, vision and mission. The company should re-check its strategic and systematic approaches so that they constitute a strategic plan that incorporates quality as the central component.

Airbnb should ensure that there is continual improvement in the company so that it gives the company a lead in creative and analytical approaches in becoming more effective and competitive as it helps meet stakeholders’ expectations. The company should also focus in having a fact-based decision making to help in determining how well the organization is performing (Goetsch, 20). Through these approaches Airbnb may correct past mistakes and avoid them in the future continually improving quality of their services.

References

Goetsch, David L., and Stanley B. Davis. Quality management for organizational excellence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: pearson, 2014.

Webster, Daniel. "Continuous Quality Improvement." University of California, Berkeley 6 (2015): 17.

Ross, Joel E. Total quality management: Text, cases, and readings. Routledge, 2017.

Ju, Yongwook, et al. "Exploring Airbnb service quality attributes and their asymmetric effects on customer satisfaction." International Journal of Hospitality Management (2018).

dos Santos, Geanderson E., et al. "Characterizing Quality Aspects in Airbnb." Proceedings of the XVI Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2017.

October 24, 2023
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Business Economics Life

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Company Customer

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