Airbnb wants to be 'for everyone' with new categories, premium tiers

Image Credit Garett Mizunaka

The phenomenon has also extended beyond its initial "millennial" appeal - in 2018, roughly 30% of hosts are 50 and older, and 12% are 60 and older.

Airbnb estimates to support 1.3 million jobs globally in 2017.

Going ahead, cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky is set to outline a new roadmap today that will also include a loyalty programme and more tools for guests to match their preferences. But Chesky quelled those rumors earlier this month, saying would-be investors will have to wait at least a year until they can get their hands on a piece of the company.

Airbnb, which first launched in August 2008, has hosted over 300 million guest arrivals in its ten years existence. In fact, people thought the idea that strangers would stay in each other's homes was insane.

The latest push is unlikely to put what Chesky has called "mass-produced" hotel chains on the Airbnb platform. There'll be the guarantee of an in-person greeting or a lockbox or keypad for entry, and travelers will get access to a special team of Airbnb Plus customer service and the promise of swifter responses. To start, the company is expanding its Superhost program with 14 new and updated benefits including greater exposure on the site, custom URLs and deals on various smart home devices. Their first partner is home automation producer Nest. The other new tier is for ballers only, mind you.

"I chose to go, where we all go, for the pursuit of infinite wisdom - I went to Twitter". The news, which went live on Airbnb's website in conjunction with a story in The New York Timesahead of a big reveal event in San Francisco this morning, confirms rumors that Airbnb has been working on a higher-end accommodations offering that would let it more easily compete with hotels.

With over 4.5 million places to stay around the world, listings have similarly become increasingly diversified, and Chesky admits that the 3 existing property types - Shared Space, Private Room, and Entire Home - have become too broad to properly represent the homes. As such, Airbnb is updating its property listings to also include Vacation Home, Unique Space (think treehouses), B&B, and Boutique for hotels. Hosts are going to have an opportunity to have a more granular way of classifying their homes.

"People thought the idea that strangers would stay in each other's homes was insane", Chesky said. Four more categories rolling out later this year, namely, Collections for Social stays, Weddings, Honeymoons, Group getaways and Dinner parties.

Airbnb is also launching two new tiers of rentals.

Airbnb Plus properties will be checked against a checklist of 100 points covering quality, cleanliness and comfort, including clean bedding, cooking equipment and toiletries.

It will offer people who rent their homes through the tier in-home design consultation and expert photography, but did not say if there was a cost associated with the services or listings.

Adding luxury to its service following acquisition of Luxury Retreats, Airbnb will launch Beyond by Airbnb, which will offer custom designed trips.

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