The era of Airbnb is upon us. 2018 may be the biggest year in the company’s history since its creation in 2008. At the February 22nd event, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced the launch of the newest product, Airbnb Plus. The latest update has been in works for the past two years under the pilot name, Airbnb Select.
The Airbnb Plus program promises to make it easier and simpler for guests to book homes on the platform. The summer will bring a new development called the Loyalty Program. The Loyalty Program is a way of thanking the loyalty of the regular Airbnb users which the company shows to be forever indebted to. Loyal guests will avail special discounts, last-minute booking and have access to exclusive listings from Airbnb.
I am particularly proud to be apart of a company that truly appreaicates its consumers. As Airbnb grows the hosts and guests grow with it. Airbnb is here to stay.
Users of the Airbnb platform can now find a curated section called Airbnb Plus with featured listings that meet the 100-point quality checklist for participating in the program. The listings are checked for fast wifi, cleanliness, clutter-free space and more.
The homes in the curated section of Airbnb Plus will not be among the most luxurious stay in Airbnb, but they “can” charge higher rates per night comparatively. The average Airbnb plus will cost around $250 per night, whereas a non-Airbnb Plus will cost you approximately $100 per night. Chesky said “according to a survey by Airbnb 73% of guests will pay higher for verified homes.
The program has initiated 2,000 Airbnb plus homes in 13 cities in the Airbnb Plus program which are ready for use now. Some cities include – Shanghai, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, London, and Melbourne. By the end of 2018, the company targets to include 75,000 Airbnb Plus homes in 50 cities. But now Airbnb Plus is only a small part of the company’s 4.5 million listings in 81,000 cities worldwide.
The Airbnb Plus update has been testing the last two years under the project name Airbnb Select. The announced program has a culmination of multiple points that include features like financial assistance, guests ability to upgrade homes and choosing a home with a particular interior design.
Airbnb Select hosts were invited to try out the features of the program during the pilot phase. Now Airbnb Plus is open to everyone. Hosts joining after February 23rd will have this option if they are in the select city. Application fee is $149.
The Airbnb Plus program promises to avail homes where design aesthetics are given importance other than quality and amenities. This step is quite evident to the fact that two of Airbnb’s founders are designers. The Airbnb Plus program will also provide professional photography services and customized design consultations.
As a guest of Airbnb Plus, you will also receive premium support from Airbnb on your travel booking.
Airbnb Plus has been innovative in the home sharing space by borrowing conceptual designs from hotel operators. Maintaining relationships with hotel owners and franchises will continue to be pursued. There are many soft brand collections with independent hotels big and small.
The addition of Airbnb Plus to the Airbnb platform shows the maturation of the company’s product mix for users. The introduction of Airbnb Plus sees the start of more expensive stays with verified homes. Airbnb has been inviting hotels and building apartment-hotels to be part of the company.
Airbnb Collections and Categories
The new Airbnb platform has a new layout and design. It will make it more comfortable for users to find what you are looking for. You will be able to quickly access from home sharing arrangement, business travel ready listings, family accommodation or an Airbnb Plus type of lodging. This new design is featured with homes designated for families and business travelers. It makes it easy to find the right accommodation in just a few short clicks.
The era of Airbnb is in full force. There are currently 145,000 homes for families and 65,000 for business travelers. Airbnb Hosts with a minimum of a 4.8 plus rating can accomodate both family and business travelers.
The Airbnb Collection model will consist of nine collections used for social stays, weddings, honeymoons, group travel, and dinner parties.
The new update makes it much more specific for users to search homes with different criteria and categories. You will be able to access more categories than just shared, private, or entire home. The new category options you will have include – vacation homes, bed-and-breakfasts, boutique hotels and unique homes like treehouses, yurts, domes and more.
Airbnb is evolving and so are the criteria for searches. For example, the hosts may be staying under the same roof as their guests but might have an exclusive kitchen or a living room available to access for those guests. That’s less than a house and sometimes creates confusion with the guests. A separate category will avoid a lot of confusion.
Airbnb is adding more features to correctly describe your stay. The different categories will denote particular design type, like home with a balcony or family friendly homes. Chesky said, “we are adding thousands of new categories and building one of the world’s largest home databases.” The platform will have features for guests to easily find a perfect place to stay.
Beyond by Airbnb
The company is working on a new brand with robust inventory at its disposal. Dubbed Beyond by Airbnb. It will comprise of Luxury Retreats plus other luxury rental spaces. Beyond by Airbnb wants to provide customers a customized experience to ensure guests have a “trip of a lifetime” as Chesky described.
Superhosts and Superguests
Airbnb defined its vision for the future and what a Host-led-world includes. It will provide the tools and technology for hosts to offer hospitality services, accommodations, tours, and activities.
Airbnb will also provide benefits and privileges for Superhosts. For the 400,000 plus hosts, there will be 14 more benefits that will include custom URLs for their listings, more visibility and exposure on the platform and more promotion. Also, there is development of a new store debuting products for hosts in partnership with Nest. The store will provide offers like 30% discount on two of its most popular devices for the smart home.
The Airbnb Loyalty Program is expected the roll out in the summer. Benefits will include assistance in the search for homes, transport, experiences, and services where Superguests will have discounted stay, last minute booking, assistance, access to exclusive inventory and more. Additonally, there are 10,000 guests that have been invited to start testing the guest membership program.
Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk is excited with the loyalty program but still had yet to determine how the program would work. Blecharczyk said, “we want to recognize or loyal travelers, they deserve special recognition, but we don’t have it; I think we should.”
Is Airbnb really for everyone?!
Airbnb can be a company for everyone. The company is expanding with homes and experiences, making it easy to search from the 4.5 million listings. Chesky ended his keynote with homage to Airbnb’s hosts. “Hosts create a magical world and will continue to lead the path to do so, and I am excited about the next ten years of the company.”