As most of the world continues to work from “home,” travelers are looking for unique vacation rentals, reliable long-term accommodations, and accessible lodging solutions. With all of this in mind, travelers often turn to Airbnb when searching for their next stay. Now, as a part of its 2021 Winter Release, the vacation rentals and travel experiences platform is improving its site with more than 50 user-friendly upgrades and innovations.
Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky recently announced the multiple platform upgrades, which include new product features aimed to enhance the new way of traveling in a post-pandemic era.
“The whole world has changed, and the way we live has changed,” says Chesky in the 2021 Winter Release announcement video. “[People] can go anywhere and can work anywhere. There’s a sense of freedom that people have never had before…Technology made it possible to work from home, but what Airbnb does is allow you to work from any home.”
Whether you’re looking for your next weekend adventure, a long-term rental, or you want to become an Airbnb host yourself, check out a few of the most notable Airbnb platform updates below.
With the booming interest in vacation rentals comes an increased risk for property owners who list their homes on Airbnb. To offer reassurance to existing hosts (there are currently four million on the platform) and make it even easier for new hosts to join, Airbnb introduced AirCover. The new feature provides top-to-bottom protection for every Airbnb host with $1 million in damage protection and $1 million in liability coverage, as well as income loss protection, pet damage protection, and deep cleaning protection.
Perhaps most importantly, AirCover is always included and free for all new and existing hosts, and now allows an extended 14-day filing window and quicker reimbursements.
International travel is back in some countries. A big challenge, however, is navigating the diverse languages in other areas of the world. Airbnb’s new Translation Engine provides a seamless experience when booking your trip by automatically translating listing descriptions and reviews in 60 different languages. It defeats the need for a click-to-translate button, so you can efficiently research which properties are best for your specific travel needs more quickly.
The travel industry still has a long way to go when it comes to creating accessible environments for everyone to enjoy. To help further the progress, Airbnb has created a new way of reviewing the accuracy of features that make Airbnb homes more accessible for the disability community.
Hosts are asked to submit photos of their accessibility features, which are then manually reviewed by a specialized team of Airbnb agents. Leading up to the launch of the 2021 Winter Release, Airbnb agents reviewed and confirmed the accuracy of 100,000 accessibility features in 25,000 homes around the world.
Let’s face it, as much as we all want to get off the grid sometimes, most of us have an unhealthy attachment to our gadgets and the internet. Especially for those working from home, fast and reliable WiFi is essential to consider when booking a vacation rental.
According to Airbnb, guests on Airbnb’s website have used the WiFi filter more than 288 million times this year. With the new verified WiFi feature, hosts can test their listing’s internet connection right from the Airbnb app to have their WiFi speed verified. With this new upgrade, digital nomads can book a stay with the reassurance that they won’t miss a single Zoom meeting (that could have been an email).
I’m (even more) Flexible
Earlier this year, Airbnb introduced the I’m Flexible feature, which allowed vacation planners to peruse the site without searching for a specific destination, date, or accommodation style. It was made for those wanderlusters who plan as they go. Guests have used the I’m Flexible feature more than 500 million times, as more people are daydreaming daily about living on the road.
Airbnb is now introducing I’m (even more) Flexible, which expands the date range you can search up to 12 months out (versus six). The flexible upgrade also includes four new categories of unique stays: off-the-grid, ski-in/ski-out, luxe, and offbeat homes. I’m (even more) Flexible helps every kind of traveler across the world find an Airbnb they’ll love and remember.
Smarter Trips Tab
Airbnb has redesigned the “Trips” tab on its website to combine all of the must-have travel info into one convenient place. The improved, more intuitive tab now features a countdown to your arrival, check-in details, current and upcoming reservations, and personalized experiences suggestions within your chosen destination. This upgrade is especially useful for those who struggle with staying organized and planning ahead. The new Trips tab can help travelers create a personalized itinerary, as well as check-in and out of their Airbnb with ease.
AirCover, Accessibility Review, Verified Wifi, and I’m (even more) Flexible are all available to everyone today. Translation Engine and Smarter Trips Tab will launch before the end of this year.