Airbnb Plus gives users the option to book hotel-quality accommodation

Laverne Mann
February 23, 2018

Airbnb Plus is being marketed as a more standardized style of service that is "verified for quality" and includes a set of amenities one might typically find in a hotel.

At a splashy event in San Francisco Thursday, CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky will announce that the start-up is making it easier for more hotels to list by expanding the type and quality of its listings, hiring people to vet higher-end listings and introducing categories and a loyalty program.

All told, the changes amount to a morphing of the company's past zero-sum ethos with the hotel industry: Airbnb is acknowledging that the hotel industry has some draws that their platform does not, and it's taking a step to encroach onto that stream of revenue and customers. You might find several rental units in the same building, or of the same configuration, all by the same host. that's nearly like a kind of faux hotel system, but this will offer an opportunity for Airbnb hosts to differentiate themselves for users that are looking for something more specific.

The company will also begin offering four new types of properties classified as vacation homes, boutiques, bed and breakfast units and "unique" homes.

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When Airbnb was founded in 2008, it offered a platform for people to rent out their rooms, apartments or homes to strangers as a way to earn extra cash.Those spaces were divided into just three types - shared spaces such as a couch, private rooms or entire home. It lists roughly 4.5 million homes for rent in more than 81,000 cities. In San Francisco, for example, after initially fighting city officials, Airbnb in May agreed to kick hosts off the platform if they didn't register with the city - a practice the company put into place at the beginning of this year. Unique spaces includes things like treehouses and Airstreams, while boutique hotels would be non-chain hotels. The addition of these new categories give guests more options while allowing hosts to be more transparent about their rentals, the company said.

Airbnb also unveiled a "collections" categories that will offer venues for occasions ranging from work to weddings. The company will also soon offer a new luxury line of homes and experiences, called Beyond. Some 2,000 homes in 13 cities, all of which have been verified for quality based on a 100-plus point checklist, will be available on the new tier.

The $US31 billion ($NZ42.2b) holiday rental business is adding hotels to its platform as part of a major overhaul that it hopes will get it to one billion bookings a year by 2028. Airbnb plans to launch it this summer with a 100,000 guest trial before rolling it out globally before the end of the year. The program launch will offer 10,000 users these custom bonus experiences.

The company also announced the launch of their Superguest program, which will launch in late summer, and offer loyal Airbnb users perks like airport picks ups and concierge services.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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