Airbnb
Airbnb has unveiled its 2023 Winter Release [Credit: Airbnb]

Airbnb unveils Guest Favorites and Listings tab in Winter Release

US: Airbnb has unveiled three major upgrades as part of its 2023 Winter Release to help guests understand exactly what to expect before they book, and enhance security and transparency for hosts.

With more than seven million homes on its platform, Airbnb is first introducing Guest Favorites, which is described as a collection of the two million “most-loved” homes on Airbnb, based on ratings, reviews and reliability data from over half a billion trips.

Guest Favorites have the best reviews on the platform and are rated above 4.9 stars on average, receiving high marks based on ease of check-in, listing accuracy, host communication, location and value. In addition, host cancellations and quality-related customer service issues are below one per cent on average, and the homes around the world can be filtered by Guest Favorites or identified by a new AI-powered badge in search results and on the listing page.

Airbnb says that almost two thirds of Guest Favorites are homes listed by Superhosts, who are typically the best-rated and most experienced hosts on the platform and who have been recognised for a track record of delivering “outstanding” hospitality.

With its new feature, the home-sharing firm believes it can provide greater comfort and reassurance to prospective guests so they know exactly what they are booking and the calibre of host they are booking with.

Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, said: “People often describe checking into an Airbnb as a  ‘moment of truth’— when you find out if the home you booked meets your expectations. Too often, it doesn’t. We’re changing that today.

“With Guest Favorites, revamped reviews, and the new Listings tab, you’ll now know exactly what to expect every time you book,” he added.

Secondly, Airbnb is revamping its ratings and reviews to better understand the quality of a home that is being booked. The redesigned ratings page enables guests to sort reviews by recency or rating and view the number of positive and negative reviews, while hosts can find more details about who is leaving a review and their trip, including where they came from, their length of stay, and with whom they travelled.

The third major upgrade is a Listings tab, comprising of a set of new tools for hosts to manage their listing and showcase the details of their home that are most desired by guests.

Tools accessible through the tab include:

  • Listing editor: A redesigned interface that enables hosts to edit their arrival pre-guest-check-in and add details to their listing, from amenities to sleeping arrangements and more.
  • AI-powered photo tour: Hosts can instantly create a photo tour of rooms within a listing so guests can better understand the layout of the home. Powered by an Airbnb AI engine, the tour can be edited by the host at any time to add new amenities.
  • Smart lock integration: Hosts will be able to connect compatible smart locks to their Airbnb account and automatically generate a unique code for each reservation. The smart lock integration will roll out initially in the United States and Canada this year, with support from locks such as Schlage, August and Yale.

 

Airbnb says that the new services will begin rolling out this week, as well as additional upgrades announced in the 2023 Winter Release, which specifically focus on security and transparency for hosts.

The additional upgrades include:

  • Pricing visibility: Hosts will better understand what guests pay by displaying service fees within the overall price of the rental listing.
  • Price comparison: Hosts will be able to track and compare prices of similar listings in their local area at any given time in their calendar, enabling them to lower prices and ultimately be more competitive in the market.
  • New earnings dashboard: Hosts will have a clearer view of their earnings via a redesigned dashboard, which features a detailed breakdown of past and future payments, customisable reports, filters and search options.
  • New options for co-host payouts: Hosts can either share the cleaning fee or the cleaning fee plus a percentage of the booking total when sharing payouts with co-hosts.
  • New co-host messaging: Hosts and co-hosts will be able to communicate in the Airbnb app with new inbox features to help them discuss and coordinate upcoming reservations.

 

With the announcement of further incoming upgrades on the Airbnb platform, Chesky wants to bring the short-term rental category closer in line with the hotel segment, particularly when it comes to competitive pricing and expectation management around product and service consistency.

The Winter Release was unveiled a week after the publication of Airbnb’s latest quarterly earnings report, which detailed a “record travel season” in Q3.

At a time when platforms are trying to successfully balance supply and demand, Airbnb wants to make hosting more “mainstream”, having reported a 19 per cent growth in active listings in Q3 compared to the same period in 2022. The company said that it would continue to raise awareness around hosting, make it easier to get started, and improve the overall experience for hosts, following previous criticisms about safety and pricing transparency.

The firm has detailed how it wants to continue “perfecting” its core service through twice-a-year product releases, as well as expand beyond its core offering, grow internationally, and invest in under-penetrated markets.

This week, Airbnb also discontinued its Airbnb Plus programme, a tier of lodging that offered high-end amenities. Plus was initially established to create hotel-like standards for homes, featuring annual inspections for key items and thresholds for design quality and accessibility, but the programme was seemingly abandoned by June 2020.

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