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Airbnb today announced a series of changes to give people more ways to decide what kind of home they want to stay in when away from home. Starting this summer, Airbnb will allow people to search for properties based on new categories like unique homes, vacation homes, bed and breakfasts, and boutique hotels. Unique homes include listings that let you stay places like barns, boats, campers, caves, and treehouses.
Right now Airbnb’s 4.5 million listings can only be searched for based on three categories: shared room, private room, and entire home.
“Wer’re going to be adding thousands of new categories and it will make it easier for guests to find a place to stay,” Airbnb cofounder Brian Chesky said onstage at a press conference held at The Masonic in San Francisco for members of the press and Airbnb staff.
Airbnb Collections, homes preset for specific occasions, launches today with offerings like Airbnb for Families and Airbnb for Work. Collections for weddings, honeymoons, dinner parties, and group getaways will be launched later this year. The social stays collection is made for experiences where the host stays with the guest and shows them around town.
Also new today: Airbnb launched Plus, a higher tier of Airbnb listings inspected in-person by Airbnb staff to make sure they met the company’s criteria. Plus will begin with 2,000 homes in 13 cities, according to a release from Airbnb. Plus homes are inspected for 100 total areas of interest including cleanliness, comfort, design, and fully-featured bathrooms and kitchens.
Hosts of Plus listings will receive higher placement in search results, in-home services, and additional customer support from Airbnb. Hosts who apply will be asked to pay a one-time $149 fee to pay for the inspection and things like photos of the property.
Plus listings will allow people to delineate between whether the home owner lives on the property or whether the property is owned by a property manager, an Airbnb spokesperson told VentureBeat. Stays at initial Plus homes will cost an average $250 a night.
As any seasoned Airbnb user can attest, the quality of your stay can be different based on these settings, since a host that lives on the property can be a helpful local guide, and one hosted by a property manager may be less helpful but provide more privacy.
To take things a step above Plus, Airbnb also introduced its Beyond by Airbnb offerings today so guests can enjoy stays in mansions or top-tier properties around the world.
The news today represents some of the largest changes to Airbnb since the company was founded in 2008.
Airbnb will also roll out new features for its 400,000 superhosts worldwide, like additional resources for superhosts like custom URLs for your listing and exclusive pricing on smart home devices, beginning with discounts on Nest thermostat and smoke alarm. A superguest pilot program to give benefits to frequent Airbnb users will roll out this summer.
Changes being made today to broaden Airbnb listings and user community in order to reach one billion users a year by 2028, Chesky said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the same day as the departure of CFO Laurence Tosi, Airbnb said it will delay plans to file an initial public offering (IPO) until after 2018. A week after Tosi’s departure, a Bloomberg report found that the company was operating an internal hedge fund that may be related to his departure.
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