Last year, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company’s biggest challenge has been to think like a startup, despite Airbnb’s explosive growth over the past decade. He said the pandemic spurred the need to simplify and focus in order to survive. Since then, Airbnb has developed hundreds of new features.
Today, that continues with the latest Airbnb feature update. Bigger changes include a new search based on category, the ability to book two listings in one stream for stays longer than a week, and AirCover for guests, which is primarily Airbnb-provided travel insurance.
They are working towards achieving two big goals for the company.
The first is to inspire the world to return to travel. Chesky believes that a new era of travel is about to begin and that Airbnb is leaning towards it. Difficult. By reinventing search, automatically gathering long-distance travel listings (which is growing in popularity), and by protecting users under AirCover, Airbnb is opening the door to guests looking to get back there in a safe way.
“We think people are ready to dream again,” Chesky said. “A lot of people have been isolated at home for two years. A lot of people haven’t taken this big trip for the first time. And so we want to encourage people to get out of their homes and venture into this big world.”
The second goal is more about the health of the business. Airbnb lives and dies by its single hosts. Small operations with one or perhaps a few properties. Category search and split stays give hosts from all corners of the platform a better view, whether or not they meet the exact specifications of user search.
Airbnb فئات Categories
Continuing in the context of flexible search, today Airbnb is launching a new way to search by categories. In fact, the homepage now begins a one-week search, with flexible dates, and displays a slider above the new Airbnb categories, rather than an OG search bar asking “Where are you going?”
The new search includes home type (such as A-frames, cabins, castles, and tiny homes), as well as interior features (great pools, chef’s kitchens, creative spaces), location type (arctic, beach, ranch), and even activity (surfing). , golf, snowboarding / snowboarding).
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Airbnb has focused on flexibility for guests. But the commercial benefits are crystal clear. If users are looking for the same general tourist destinations, and they have to search by some random, hard and fast dates, their inventory options will be very limited.
Airbnb has hosts in hundreds of thousands of cities around the world, and flexible search allows these locations to be discovered.
The company first struggled with flexible search in February 2021, giving users the opportunity to search by length of stay (weekend, week off, month off, etc.) without specifying specific dates.
In May of that year, Airbnb announced that it would add flexible destinations for compliance and matching. Flexible Match doesn’t lock users into all of the individual search criteria they choose, but shows Airbnbs with the most criteria covered, while Flexible Destinations has determined the origin of today’s category ad, allowing users to search for beach-side properties or treehouses.
This intensifies the escalation of flexible search in today’s edition, which puts categories front and center.
Furthermore, Airbnb uses a combination of machine learning and manual review to organize listings using structured data. For example, listings in the ‘Design’ category show the architect or publication in which the property appeared as ‘Title’. Lists in the Shared Home category show the hostname as the address, as this is probably the most important piece of information a user might need based on the category.
The same strategy is used for the featured image in menus – for example, the first image you’ll see after searching in the pool category is, of course, the swimming pool.
This means that lists of titles and descriptions become much less important, giving individual hosts a better chance of competing for the merits of their property, rather than their marketing prowess.
Category search also works in tandem with destination search and location-based inflections. For example, if you search for places in France, categories like “Historic Houses” or “Vineyards” will appear.
Airbnb Split Stays
Airbnb also offers separate stays. The company’s research shows that long-term stays are at an all-time high, more than double what they were two years ago. To help meet this demand, separate stays on Airbnb allow users to book, say, a two-week trip and stay on two different listings, only if none of those listings is available for the full two weeks.
Split stays are available across 14 new Airbnb categories, as well as for specific destination searches. When selected, the UI shows the distance between the two menus and is an easy flow for guests to book both different menus without opening a lot of tabs.
Split stays are shown in all searches of a week or longer.
Currently, Chesky says, the split stay functionality is exclusively controlled by Airbnb, automatically pairing two properties that match a user’s criteria. But it also lays the foundation for what Airbnb can do in the future with itineraries.
Right now, it’s hard to book multiple Airbnbs for a long-haul flight across a variety of locations. Suppose a user wanted to spend the summer traveling through Europe or spend two weeks on a road trip across the United States, Airbnb does not have a feature set to help the user plan accommodations for that trip.
With today’s release, Airbnb can easily build split stays and offer trip planner creation and organization around the lodging.
“The moment we can intelligently pair two homes, we can eventually pair three homes or two homes and an experience or a home and an experience plus something else,” Chesky said. “Then we can give the user control. You can then start integrating it with the wishlist down the road. It’s really starting to become a real itinerary app, which we don’t get right now. But the technology is there.”
Airbnb AirCover for Guests
Last year, Airbnb introduced its insurance product, AirCover, to hosts. It was meant to inspire more people to join the platform as hosts and list their properties, ensuring that any damage or issues are covered. For example, many Airbnb hosts have been reluctant to allow pets to stay on their listings despite the massive increase in pet ownership since the pandemic. AirCover has a solution for that.
Today, Airbnb is advertising an AirCover to guests as well. Guests will be protected from host cancellations, check-in issues, and have access to a 24/7 security line. On top of that, Airbnb offers a “Get-What-You-Booked” guarantee. If the listing isn’t as advertised, Airbnb will either give guests a refund or find them a listing of the same or better quality for their flight.
Again, this is meant to give travelers the confidence to get back there and go on vacation. Chesky says it rivals the type of coverage offered by many hotel chains and definitely outperforms other booking sites like Booking.com and VRBO.
All of these updates are intended to provide an enterprise-wide infrastructure for a large community of single hosts. Category search and segmentation of stays increases visibility for hosts who are likely to be off-track or unable to serve the exact specifications of a user’s search.
The last time we spoke to Chesky, he said the company’s focus is on people. But a platform full of people, both from the host and guest side, means a huge amount of variance from one search, menu, and reservation to another.
A large part of its charm is the unique and one-of-a-kind nature of traveling with Airbnb. There are no cookie-cutter hotel rooms on the platform. But it also means there is more variance, and variables can lead to problems. Airbnb listings are spread all over the world, from the smallest cities to the largest, and from sweets to the North Pole. Literally. Without the processes and protocols of hotels and large chains, and without their resources around service, the final guest experience can vary greatly.
AirCover aims for guests to provide as much protection as possible for guests who are arguably spending a good chunk of money on their vacation, just as they would get it from a large hotel.
“We want to embrace ‘kindness’ in our society,” Chesky said. “The great thing about this genre is that people are different, they are unique. The problem is that people are different and unique. More than one kind is more variance. And so we’ve been trying to think about how to provide Some protection for you and we’re the only ones offering that. Is that consistent like a Hilton? Probably not. But, with that protection, you get a lot closer to where the hotel can get, and you’re a long way from what Booking.com, VRBO or Expedia can do there You are on your own when you book on those sites.”
Meanwhile, the search for categories and ultimately split stays aims to increase visibility for all types of hosts, across all different types of homes and locations, to generate revenue and bring guests (and their wallets) to their communities.