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Thu, 4 May 2023

Airbnb Launches Rooms and Makes 50+ Changes to Platform

(04/05/23)  Airbnb has forecast that approximately 300 million people will make use of the platform this year.

To better serve both the guests and hosts, the company is making the most extensive set of improvements in its history, starting with the introduction of Airbnb Rooms, an all-new take on the original Airbnb.

The company is also launching over 50 new features and upgrades that address feedback from guests and hosts across the entire Airbnb experience.

Airbnb began as a way to stay in a room in someone else’s home. This original idea of sharing a home offers two unique benefits. First, it’s more affordable for guests. More than 80% of private rooms are under $100/night, with an average rate of $67/night. Second, staying with a host is a great way to meet someone new and experience the city like a local.

Airbnb Rooms, an all-new take on the original Airbnb, has been created in response to feedback from guests who say they want to know more about who they're staying with. Every Airbnb Room features a Host Passport, which helps guests get to know their host before booking their stay.

Bangkok, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com. Click to enlarge.
Bangkok, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com

The company has also created a Rooms category with over 1 million listings, redesigned filters and new privacy features.

“With Airbnb Rooms, we’re getting back to the idea that started it all - back to our founding ethos of sharing,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and CEO. “Airbnb Rooms are often more affordable than hotels, and they’re the most authentic way to experience a city. This is the soul of Airbnb.”

- Host Passport: Exclusive to Airbnb Rooms, the Host Passport helps a guest to get to know their host before booking. Simply tap the Host Passport to view a larger photo and details that hosts have shared about themselves, including where they went to school, what they do for work, a fun fact about themselves, and more.

- Airbnb Rooms: A new category featuring a curated set of 1 million private bedrooms. Each listing includes access to shared spaces, such as the kitchen, living room and backyard.

- Redesigned Filters: The “type of place” filter has been redesigned to make it easier to switch between Airbnb Rooms, entire homes and all types of places. The enhanced price filter that updates based on the choice of place makes it easier to see the average price for each type of place.

- New Privacy Features: All Airbnb Rooms will clearly indicate if the bedroom door has a lock. The listing page also shows whether the bathrooms are shared or private, and whether people other than the host will be in the home during your stay.

“Millions of people have given us feedback on how to improve Airbnb. We’ve listened,” said Brian Chesky. “Today, we’re introducing the most extensive set of updates ever. Our design-driven approach means we’re always making Airbnb better, and our over 50 new features and upgrades are just the beginning. We will never stop improving Airbnb.”

A few of the 50+ new features and upgrades include:

- Total Price Display: Guests can view the total price with fees, before taxes, across the entire app including in search results, price filter, maps and listing pages.

- Transparent Check-Out Instructions: Guests can now view check-out instructions on the listing page before booking, and they’ll receive a reminder before they leave the home. During the review process, guests can tell Airbnb about any excessive requests, and listings with repeated low ratings from unreasonable chores will be removed from the platform.

- Improved Maps: Used by more than 80 percent of guests, Airbnb has updated maps with faster performance, persistent pins when zooming and panning, and more results when searching.

- Redesigned Wishlists: Wishlists now include a redesigned interface, one-tap saving, and an improved calendar that shows availability of wish-listed homes. Guests can also add notes to any wish-listed listing - making it easier to remember why they chose it.

- Simpler and More Affordable Monthly Stays: For stays over three months, Airbnb is significantly reducing the guest service fee after the third month. Guests in the US can also save for stays over one month when paying with their linked bank account. And when searching, the new Months tab features an all-new interface that makes it easy to dial in a range from 1-12 months.

- Priority Customer Service: A dedicated 24/7 support team has been established for priority access when on a trip, with a goal of answering 90% of calls in English in two minutes or less.

- Pay Over Time: Through a new partnership with Klarna, guests in the US and Canada can apply to pay for stays in four interest-free installments over six weeks. For bookings over $500, guests can apply to pay monthly (US only). More countries are expected to be added to this service throughout the year.

- Instant Rebooking Credit: If a host cancels within 30 days of arrival, most guests will receive an instant credit that can be used to rebook another stay immediately.

As part of the 50+ new features and upgrades, Airbnb is launching 25 improvements for hosts, including new pricing tools to help hosts set competitive prices, easily add weekly and monthly discounts, and compare their listing to similar ones in their area. The company is also including a yearly view in calendar, the ability to easily enter check-out instructions, read receipts and new quick replies in messaging, and more.

The changes started rolling out this week, and hosts can try the new features by enrolling in Airbnb Early Access.

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