Airbnb Announces Big Update with Focus on Flexibility
With travel demand rebounding, and a shift in how people travel, Airbnb is making many changes and updates to its platform. The Airbnb 2021 Release adds features to give guests even more flexibility when planning their travel and to make it simple for anyone to become a Host.
“We are seeing three fundamental shifts in travel as people become less tethered and more flexible,” said Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb. “People can travel anytime, they are traveling to more places and they are staying longer. The lines between travel, living and working are blurring and we are upgrading our service to make it easier for people to integrate travel into their lives, and for more people to become Hosts.”
Changes for Guests
Flexibility is at the heart of a new, improved browsing and booking experience with three new ways to search on Airbnb. That includes Flexible Dates, Flexible Matching and Flexible Destinations.
With flexible dates, which rolled out in February, makes it easy to find the best places to stay if you are flexible on when you go. Rather than searching with fixed dates, you can search for a weekend getaway, a week-long vacation or even a month-long stay.
The flexible matching feature offers a wider selection of listing results when you search for a place to stay by surfacing homes just outside of your search parameters. This way, you never miss out on a great stay that falls just outside what was specified in a search. For example, if you were searching for a beachfront home and set the max price per night at $250, Airbnb would still show options priced just above this.
Then there’s Flexible Destinations, a new way to plan trips when finding a unique place to stay is more important to you than traveling to a specific destination. It helps you discover incredible properties in places you might not have thought to search for and adapts to your location. For instance, it surfaces ryokans in Japan, trullos in Italy, or castles in Spain. Airbnb has over 170,000 one-of-a-kind properties to choose from and the number of searches for these unique listings has grown 94% so far in 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.
Airbnb has also improved search capabilities with new filters to adapt to the season or location. You can also search for homes near points of interest, such as national parks, or with very specific attributes such as whether the property has an ocean view or whether a fireplace is gas or wood-burning.
Additionally guests will have:
- Faster checkout process: We’ve reduced the number of steps for new guests to confirm their first reservation.
- Arrival guide: Easy access to all the helpful information a guest needs (directions, door codes, Wifi and message the Host option) before check-in.
- Updated reviews: Guests now have a fuller spectrum, from critiques to compliments, to rate their stay.
- Clearer Cancellations: Refreshed cancellation policies increase clarity for both guests and Hosts.
Changes for Hosts
Airbnb is also making it easier to become a Host with a new onboarding process that has been simplified to 10 steps. A new Today tab lets hosts manage bookings, requests and current guests and will provide quick access to the most popular Host tools. Messages received by hosts will load faster and will include support for Quick Replies, which lets hosts send an answer to a frequently asked question.
Airbnb said it’s doubling the number of customer support representatives this summer and that Superhosts will have a dedicated support team. Additionally, experienced hosts will get priority access to the “most experienced” help agents.
For a full list of all 100+ upgrades, please visit www.airbnb.com/2021.