The Plus program, unveiled Thursday, is aimed at winning over travellers who aren't sure they can trust the computer-driven system that Airbnb uses to assess the quality of rentals. The properties will be inspected and verified by a local photographer sent by the company before they're accepted.
If you want to stay in a home with a domed ceiling, you can search for that - or if you want your Airbnb to be near to a zoo, that's also searchable.
In addition to the new "super" programs, the company's announcement mentioned a handful of added booking features and property types. There'll be the guarantee of an in-person greeting or a lockbox or keypad for entry, and travelers will get access to a special team of Airbnb Plus customer service and the promise of swifter responses.
The new search functions will make it much easier to find what you need - as there's a colossal 3.5 million properties on Airbnb. "Those are indisputable facts, if you just type in "Hilton", look at their stock, look at Marriott, they're all thriving", he told i in September past year.
Airbnb is adding more lodging types to its site, such as boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and high-end rentals. "Beyond by Airbnb will offer luxury rentals with 'world-class hospitality" later this spring.
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In addition to Plus, Airbnb is also adding a suite of new categories of listings; finally allowing mobile homes, vacation estates, hotels/boutiques and even treehouses to be featured for lower fees than the standard room listings. Over the last 10 years, Airbnb hosts earned more than $41bn and guests have checked into an Airbnb more than 300 million times.
During a presentation in San Francisco, Chesky announced other steps created to make Airbnb more like a traditional hospitality company instead of an industry renegade that has siphoned business away from major hotels. Airbnb is starting with Collections for family and work trips, and will expand to include weddings, honeymoons, and group getaways.
Airbnb will also add options of Airbnb for family and Airbnb for work.
The service is launching today to mark Airbnb's 10th anniversary.
The company is also launching a Superguest membership program later this year, similar to its Superhost program that recognizes favored hosts on the platform. Whereas a family may want to rent a home that has a playground for children, for example, a business traveler may just want something clean and simple, and "collections" is meant to show people they kind of accommodation they would most likely prefer. By the end of the year, Chesky foresees verifying 75,000 homes in 50 cities. If they are selected, the hosts get design consultation and expert photography, and their properties will get top placement on Airbnb's app.
Frequent business travelers often have accumulated massive piles of reward points (and maybe have bigger travel budgets) and may be accustomed to this, and there's also plenty of opportunity to target the same kinds of experiences that something like an Atlantis full-service resort in the Bahamas might offer (with water slides and all).