Chasing increased bookings growth in its 10-year plan, Airbnb embraces hotels
As it celebrates its first decade in business Airbnb can claim to have generated $US 41 billion in earnings for hosts through 300 million guest check-ins to listed properties. Those are some seriously big numbers but in its next 10-year plan released today, the company wants to go bigger. Much bigger.
In what the company is calling its “Roadmap”, the number of property types available to book will increase to seven with the inclusion of B&B and Boutique, as well as Unique Space and Vacation Home. B&B is, of course, for those who want to mingle with their semi-professional hosts over a cooked breakfast and a cup of tea, but Boutique is actually short for Boutique Hotel. This means Airbnb is not quite embracing the likes of Hilton or Marriott but it is embracing the bourgeoning world of small hotels appointed to high standards in interesting places.
In increasing the number of property types, the company says it’s allowing hosts to more accurately categorise their properties. This change will also be accompanied by expanded guest search capabilities.
Another change to the platform is the introduction of Airbnb Collections to better recognise the wide range of travelers making bookings and the purpose they are booking the accommodation for. First out of the blocks will be Airbnb for Family and Airbnb for Work. Later in the year, Weddings, Honeymoons and Dinner parties will get a Collection. No mention so far of house-wrecking teenage rages.
In a nod to publications like the famous Michelin Guide, the company will also start making property inspections of its own and marking them according to a 100-point checklist. This will move the selected properties beyond relying on guest feedback for ratings and usher them into the Airbnb Plus tier in the hope that this will encourage even the most discerning of guests to take a chance on the platform. Hosts that make the Airbnb Plus grade will be supported by the company with the likes of design consultations and expert photography services.
If this isn’t enough, the company is also set to launch “Beyond”. The concept currently only exists as a short YouTube promotional clip but the idea seems to be to meld accommodation, experiences and wining and dining into so-called “trips-of-a-lifetime”.
Superhost and Superguest programmes are also to be launched to deliver added benefits to the selected benefits. Superhost details can be found at airbnb.com/superhost but Superguests will have to wait and see if they are selected amongst the initial 10,000 lucky users to find out more.
Airbnb has also been reported as looking at entering the air travel market but no mention was made of that in the Roadmap release.