We’re thrilled to welcome Donna Boyer, an expert in managing the development of innovative products, and an Airbnb host, to the team. Donna will be leading the teams who build the features and tools that help ensure hosts are successful and enjoy happy hosting on Airbnb.
We recently sat down with Donna to ask her what we think her fellow hosts might want to know.
You were a host long before joining the Airbnb team—and a Superhost at that! Tell us how you got started.
Our hosting journey started when a friend from the neighbourhood suggested we host his family when they visited from France. Some encouragement and many trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond later, we were welcoming our first guests.
Like so many other hosts, we started hosting for extra income to cover some unexpected expenses. But it quickly became about more than the money—our whole family has grown from welcoming guests of all ages from all around the globe.
Hosting has become a way of life for all of us. I have two boys, ages 14 and 8, and they both have small jobs to do, whether it’s helping with cleaning or running to the store to stock the fridge. They lose their “hangout” space when we host — but they know it means they can each pick something special to do together when we’re on vacation, which has more than made up for it.
(A little Superhost tip from Donna if you’re ever visiting the Noe Valley neighbourhood in San Francisco: don’t miss Dolores Park, Bernie’s coffee shop, and Easy Breezy Frozen Yogurt!)
What do you want other hosts to know about what goes on behind the scenes at Airbnb?
I’ve been surprised by just how deeply my co-workers care about the experience guests and hosts have through Airbnb. Too often, by the time a company gets to be this size, people get disconnected from the mission. That’s definitely not the case here. I’d want hosts to know that the team here is committed to listening to our community and continuing to learn together.
What excites you most about the current moment in hosting, and what are you most looking forward to developing with hosts in mind?
I’m excited by how often I overhear people from all walks of life—whether it’s my parents’ retired friends or the firefighters in the coffee shop or my son’s classmates—talking about a great Airbnb they stayed in. And they’re not just talking about the space, they’re talking about the neighbourhood they explored or the breakfast spot their host recommended or the book they borrowed. As a host, I know how fulfilling it can be to provide guests with these great experiences. I also know how much work goes into this, each and every time. I wake up every day thinking about ways to make hosting easier and even more rewarding.
Tell us a bit about your professional background and why you’re a natural fit for this role. What specifically has equipped you best for the work ahead?
I’m lucky enough to have spent the past twenty years working with engineers and designers to launch new products, both at big companies and tiny startups. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I’m more creative, determined, and courageous when I work on big ideas and problems that I’m passionate about. Airbnb certainly meets both those criteria!
Being a host myself makes it easier for me to understand the ups and down and ins and outs of our host tools. But perhaps the most important rule of developing great products is not to assume the features you want are what everyone wants. I can’t wait to spend time with our host community to hear more perspectives!
And we can’t wait to see how Donna’s dynamic leadership and investment in the host community help us continue to develop the best product for you, with you.