Airbnb unveils biggest changes in over a decade
Airbnb has announced new ways to search for and book homes on the platform in response to the rise of remote work and the number of customers choosing longer stays.
The new features include the ability to more easily divide trips between two homes when options for longer stays are limited. As well as a search tool that surfaces properties via specific categories, such as whether the house offers "creative spaces," a chef's kitchen or a pool.
"The way people travel has changed forever," Brian Chesky, Airbnb's cofounder and CEO, said in a statement. Chesky touted the new features as "the biggest change to Airbnb in a decade."
The updates come as Airbnb recently reported business was booming again after taking a hit from the pandemic.
The company said nearly half of the nights booked on Airbnb in the last three months were for trips of a week or longer.
Chesky suggested the new 'Split Stays' feature, which allows customers to book back-to-back stays at multiple homes in the same area, is intended to meet this shift in demand.
Chesky said this new way to search comes after people have become "more flexible about where they live and work," a trend that Airbnb has also embraced by allowing its employees to "live and work anywhere."
The company also announced bolstered travel protections for guests, which will be included for free with every booking.
Known as 'AirCover' - the protections offer users similar accommodations or refunds if their booking was cancelled, if they can't check into a home, or if the listing wasn't as advertised. Moreover, the company said customers will get access to a 24-hour safety line if they ever feel unsafe during their stay.
The new way to search (dubbed 'Airbnb Categories'), lets users look for places to stay using 56 categories based on a home's style, including options for tiny homes and yurts, as well as location and proximity to a travel activity.