At Airbnb Open LA, an audience of 2,000 community members came together for the Bélo Awards—a ceremony that honors hosting’s best and brightest. The Bélo Awards are Airbnb’s moment to celebrate kindness and belonging through inspiring stories from the diverse global community. James Corden, the comedy whiz of late night TV, emceed the Bélo Awards from Downtown LA’s historic Orpheum Theatre.
The Bélo Awards celebration also honored the 2015 Host Award winners, because last year’s Airbnb Open celebration was cut short due to the attacks in Paris. To meet the 2015 honorees, visit the hospitality blog’s features about Frans, Christine, Michelle, and Liane.
We used a community-driven approach to select this year’s Bélo Award winners. Our team reviewed thousands of host stories from every part of the world to select the nominees. The winners were elected by a jury of Host Award honorees from past years and leaders from the Airbnb team.
Here are your 2016 Bélo Awards winners:
People: Jonathan S., Richmond, VA, United States
The People Award honors profound and heartfelt connections between guests and hosts. Our 2016 winner is Jonathan, who shares his home in Glen Allen, VA.
When Jonathan hosted a visiting married couple, the wife went into labor unexpectedly while her husband was away for a business meeting. Jonathan sprung into action and brought the pregnant guest to the hospital himself. To provide support, he stayed with her in the waiting room until her family arrived. Jonathan’s story is an extraordinary example of heroic care that sparks a lasting connection.
Places: Lionel B., New South Wales, Australia
The Places award celebrates a creative host who offers a unique environment to guests. The 2016 Places Award winner is Lionel of New South Wales, who creates an exceptional setting for guests in his treehouse in Australia’s lush Blue Mountains.
Lionel created his listing with romantic getaways for couples in mind. The unique space includes a spa, kitchenette, fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling windows that immerse guests in the stunning natural surroundings. The cabin is nestled between two national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage-designated rainforest, so visitors are able to enjoy a variety of adventures during their stay. Lionel’s guests describe a stay at his treehouse as “an absolutely gorgeous experience.”
Love: Rebekah R., Los Angeles, CA, United States
The Love Award honors a host that creates unforgettable experiences for their guests during their stay. This year’s Love Award winner is Rebekah, who shares her home in LA’s Mid-City neighborhood.
Early on Thanksgiving morning, a fire started in Rebekah’s garage. Rebekah evacuated her guests to safety and fought the flames with a garden hose until firefighters arrived. Despite the emergency, Rebekah took care to ensure that her guests were warm, unhurt, and cared for. She even managed to cook them dinner in her backyard to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Rebekah’s guest says she’s a “hero” and adds, “that’s no understatement.”
Airbnb: Abigail J., Toronto, Canada
The Airbnb Award celebrates a host who is devoted to creating a world where people can belong anywhere. This year’s winner is Abigail of Toronto, Canada.
Abigail is a host who mixes the spirit of hospitality with the desire to do good in the world. As an advocate for refugees, she helped a Syrian family of four relocate to her home country. The family is currently living a new Canadian life in the Pointe-Saint-Charles neighborhood of Montreal. For her efforts to provide people in need with a home and a sense of belonging, Abigail is the winner of this year’s Airbnb Award.
We salute our winners, our nominees, and every member of our host community for helping to create a world that’s more welcoming and belonging than ever before.