[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]ast month, Airbnb announced a number of improvements to the way search results are displayed on its site with the launch of new property types, tiers and collections to make it easier for travellers to find the accommodation they want.
At the beginning, Airbnb was simply a platform for advertising and booking spare rooms and apartments but it has come a long way in now partnering with B&Bs and boutique hotels, which previously complained about the competition it posed in the market.
Today, Airbnb has more than 4.5 million places to stay around the world, ranging from treehouses to underground bunkers, but until now it’s only been possible to search according to Shared Space, Private Room and Entire Home. The company says: “This makes it hard for hosts to stand out and guests can’t always find what they’re looking for.”
However, by this summer, users will be able to navigate curated listings under four additional categories: B&B, Boutique, Vacation Home and Unique Space.It’s also unveiled Airbnb Collections, enabling users to search according to the type of trip they are undertaking. Now there is Airbnb for Family and Airbnb for Work, and later this year will be collections for Social stays (where you can choose to stay with a beekeeper, artist or musician, for example), Weddings, Honeymoons, Group Getaways and Dinner parties.To highlight those properties that have gone the extra mile in their offering, there is also a new tier called Airbnb Plus for homes that have been personally verified for quality and comfort. At the moment there are 2,000 of these in 13 cities available to book, and all of them have come up trumps against a 100-plus point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design. The company says: “Airbnb Plus hosts benefit from top placement, in-home services such as design consultation and expert photography, and premium support.”Finally, coming soon will be a special portal called Beyond by Airbnb, which is for “custom-designed trips of a lifetime, including the world’s finest homes, custom experiences and world-class hospitality”.
It is being launched this spring on the back of the company’s purchase of Luxury Retreats last year, demonstrating its rapid expansion and ambition to be an all-encompassing travel booking site. “Homes are just the beginning,” it says. Two years ago Airbnb launched its Experiences portal for people to book activities such as surfing and cooking lessons with locals. Today, Airbnb is one of the world’s largest accommodation platforms with almost five million places to stay in more than 80,000 cities. Over the last ten years, Airbnb hosts earned in excess of $41 billion and guests have checked into an Airbnb more than 300 million times.