Airbnb is introducing a number of new tools to help push the platform more in the direction of long-term stays during the coronavirus crisis.
The company says the move is to give hosts the chance to provide "local accommodation in these challenging times."
It claims 80% of hosts now accept longer term stays and around half of its active listings are giving guests a discount on stays of one month or more.
There has been a 20% increase in long-stay bookings on Airbnb in the last two weeks compared to the same period in 2019, it says.
The announcement of tools (a new alert and onboarding process to help hosts open up their listings to long-term guests, plus changes to the visibility of local listings in search results - now "front and center") come as Airbnb fends off reports that the coronavirus outbreak is seeing massive changes in its host supply base.
The company criticized recent reports in the mainstream and social media that thousands of short-term rentals in destinations around the world are now being listed on traditional rental websites.
"Today, there are as many listings available on the Airbnb platform for prospective guests as there were prior to the pandemic. We take claims about the impact of short-term rentals seriously," an official told PhocusWire via email. "However, both Airbnb’s own data and data from third-party real estate websites do not bear out the one-off anecdotes cited."
Discussing the new long-term stay focus, Airbnb says the community "has shifted to meet new consumer needs for longer term stays within their communities."
This, it says, ranges from "seniors needing safe accommodations to shelter in, or families needing the space to support educating kids while working from home, to medical providers needing places to stay near the front lines, or college students needing housing after their schools have closed."
Airbnb says the average distance from a guest's home to their destination has decreased by 20% since the beginning of February.
"We’re seeing a larger share of Airbnb guests booking accommodation in their own communities for all lengths of stays, whether that be because they require extra space for their families or a quiet place to work," it claims.