25 February, 2018
San Francisco-based Airbnb is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with some changes to its platform.
Airbnb is giving its homes a new sheen with the launch of high-end tiers aimed at offering travelers more consistency. It's a new tier that's "intended for guests looking for lovely homes" and "exceptional hosts", according to the company. These include services such as Wi-Fi, cooking essentials, televisions with streaming capabilities, well-maintained appliances and living spaces, and so on.
Airbnb also announced a new "Superguest" program: the company's answer to hotel membership programs.
Chesky said: "Ten years ago we never dreamed of what Airbnb could become". 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. This will give a greater choice of accommodation options to guests, provide greater transparency over the types of accommodation available, and help hosts better showcase what's unique about them to better match with guests' preferences. Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.
Additionally, the company is expanding its Superhost program with new and updated benefits, including more exposure, custom URLs for their listings and exclusive pricing on smart home devices, starting with a partnership with Nest to offer Superhosts discounted products.
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The new programme called Beyond by Airbnb, is being described as being able to offer tailored experiences and world-class hospitality when it launches in the Spring.
Airbnb is also adding new ways to make it easier for users to navigate its site. Airbnb Plus homes have been inspected and verified in person against a 100+ point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design.
Among its goals: host more than a billion guests by 2028. So far, 2,000 homes in 13 cities have been personally verified for quality and comfort. Chesky said on Thursday that Airbnb's revenue grew more than 50 percent from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017.
The company is also debuting what it's calling "collections", in which some homes that have good reviews are grouped by why customers often rent them like family events or work travel. Now the properties have been made available in Barcelona, Austin, Chicago, Cape Town, Melbourne, Rome, London, Milan, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Toronto, Sydney and San Francisco.
The company also announced an upcoming launch of a guest loyalty programme offering frequent users "benefits across the entire trip" although few details have been unveiled.