Updated: May 24, 2022
Airbnb has come a long way since its launch in 2008; back when its two founders inflated an air mattress in their living room. Ever keen to adapt to the market, Airbnb's latest update, on May 11, 2022, is a move towards more options and greater protections
"The way people travel has changed forever. That's why we're introducing the biggest change to Airbnb in a decade," said Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb.
This change is responsive to how people use the platform – affecting all rentals from Jakarta to Indianapolis Airbnb
Three new features are being introduced:
Airbnb Categories lets people tailor their searches to discover homes they never knew existed – be it to live, work, or travel.
Split Stays create the possibility of longer trips, splitting your trip between two homes.
AirCover for guests is free comprehensive travel protection designed to reinvigorate guests' confidence in the platform.
Let's explore each of these new additions.
Airbnb was envisioned as an alternative to the stodgy hotel market. Millions of hosts advertise their rooms, apartments, and homes as if they were hotels – searchers look for a city and a date. It ignores the immense diversity available on the platform.
Under the new system, you're presented with 56 categories sorting homes based on style, location, and proximity to your travel reasons – be it work, family, or recreation.
Select a different constellation of categories, and the map will shift to show you where the properties are located. Properties fit into certain categories using machine learning to analyze titles, photo captions, written descriptions, and all other property information.
For Airbnb property managers, it's a new feature they'll need to learn to optimize their listings' rankings. You can organize your Indianapolis real estate by what makes it unique. But it does allow you to market based on your property's benefits, e.g., countryside, historical homes, houseboats, beachfront, and more.
The idea behind Split Stays is simple: "split your trip between two homes". That's it. Nearly half of the nights booked on the platform were for a week or more – so this new innovative feature allows searchers to see more listings over longer periods.
You don't need to select anything. Split Stays automatically appear in your listings alongside an animated line that connects the two homes and visually shows the sequences of the stays.
Hosts will likely see an uptick in bookings – but with the downside of a greater churn of guests. As guests jump between locations, only stopping for a few days at a time. That can mean a rise in utility and upkeep costs.
AirCover for guests
Airbnb brand AirCover as "the most comprehensive protective in travel". It's 100% free with every booking.
Under the coverage, you'll receive four protections:
Booking protection guarantee – if a host cancels a booking within 30 days of check-in, AirCover guarantees somewhere similar or better or a complete refund.
Check-in guarantee – if you're unable to check-in, Airbnb will find you a similar or better home for your stay or a complete refund.
Get-What-You Booked guarantee – Airbnb will find a similar or better home or a complete refund if a listing isn't as advertised.
24-hour safety line – if you feel unsafe at any point in the stay, you get priority access to specially-trained safety agents 24/7.
For hosts, it may help diffuse disgruntled guests when you cannot meet their demands – or unforeseen circumstances arise.
A new era for Airbnb
Whether you're in Airbnb management in Indianapolis or a potential guest in Paris, the 2022 Summer Release is a landmark shift for Airbnb. Greater versatility, more flexibility, and higher standard of protection – yet it does place greater pressure and expectations on hosts.
What do you think?