Airbnb Revamps Site to Woo Guests, Hosts Amid Travel Rebound
(Bloomberg) -- Airbnb Inc. unveiled a major revamp of its service in an effort to woo hosts and guests to the home-rental platform amid a post-pandemic travel surge.
The upgraded site is designed to offer improved search flexibility for travelers, helping them to quickly find rentals near popular tourist destinations, like national parks, by offering more flexibility in search parameters, dates and destinations. Airbnb will also make it easier to become a host, simplifying the process to just 10 steps. Other improvements for guests include a faster checkout process, an easy access arrival guide for upcoming stays and a “refreshed” cancellation policy that will increase clarity around policies, according to a statement Monday. Hosts will see a more centralized reservation booking system and improvements to their messaging system so they can send faster responses to guest queries.
The alternative accommodation market, which Airbnb dominates in the U.S., is leading the global travel recovery as people take advantage of remote work policies and flock to beach towns or mountain villages for months-long stay-cations. The San Francisco-based company reported a 52% increase in gross bookings in the first quarter from a year earlier.
“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,” Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky said.
Online travel giants Booking Holdings Inc. and Expedia Group Inc., which owns Vrbo, have both launched aggressive marketing campaigns this year to try and poach hosts from Airbnb. On Monday, Airbnb responded by announcing its largest makeover ever with more than 100 new features that promise to streamline the process for guests and hosts.
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