As vaccinations roll out and travel is set to pick up again this summer, Airbnb has made a number of changes to its platform and services.
On Monday, the short-term rental company announced that it is making over 100 changes to how it will work with both hosts and guests going forward. While the majority are minor and mostly technical, larger ones include introducing flexible searching, expanding support services and making it easier to join the platform as a host.
Given that regulations around the COVID-19 pandemic can still cause travel restrictions to change at the last minute, Airbnb has launched three new search options: flexible dates, flexible matching and flexible destinations.
Guests who choose flexible matching will be shown a range of listings that include properties that fall outside of their search parameters so a greater number of listings are surfaced. So, for example, if you’re looking for a tiny house for $125 per night, Airbnb would show options priced just above this.
Flexible destinations is for those who have a set timeframe and budget, but haven’t yet decided on exactly where they want to go. Flexible dates, in which users can enter the general timeframe in which they want to travel, launched in February.
“We are seeing three fundamental shifts in travel as people become less tethered and more flexible,” Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, said in a statement. “People can travel anytime, they are traveling to more places and they are staying longer.”
On the host side, the company explained that it is simplifying the process of listing a property. Instead of dozens of steps currently required, hosts will be able to put their home on the platform in just 10 steps by allowing artificial intelligence and publicly available real estate data to fill in listing descriptions automatically.
Along with expanding the number of support agents for both hosts and guests and offering services in more languages, Airbnb is also launching a Today tab that shows hosts the bookings, requests and current guests on a given day.
Updates that affect guests will include a more efficient checkout process, clearer and more visible cancellation policies and a new guest arrival guide that has things like door codes, Wi-Fi instructions and directions in one place.
“The lines between travel, living and working are blurring and we are upgrading our service to make it easier for people to integrate travel into their lives, and for more people to become Hosts,” Chesky said.