Airbnb is launching a new product designed to help keep solo travelers safe as more people opt to live and work from anywhere.
According to Airbnb, 26% of all nights booked on its platform in 2021 were by solo travelers, and more than 50% of nights booked for long-term stays during the first quarter of 2022 were for solo travelers.
With its new solo traveler feature, Airbnb will automatically activate a special in-app experience when a solo guest books a private or shared room reservation.
In addition to surfacing safety tips for solo travelers, the feature will also allow guests to easily share their reservation itinerary in one click with people they trust for peace of mind in case of an emergency. The itinerary shared includes listing address, reservation code, and check in and check out dates.
Once a reservation is confirmed, Airbnb will send automated prompts to the message thread with the host with suggested questions to ask about the listing and surrounding neighborhood. Airbnb says the questions stem from research with experienced solo travelers who provided details about what helps them feel safe on the road.
The feature is initially being rolled out for English-speaking guests and will support additional countries and languages in the coming year. It will also eventually expand to include entire home listings.
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“Our hope is this new product will better equip solo travelers on Airbnb to be more informed travelers by getting their pre-trip questions answered, giving them a better understanding of their surroundings and informing the important people in their lives about where they will be and for how long,” Airbnb says.
Airbnb is not the first to take into consideration the needs of solo travelers.
Texas-based startup Golightly, which launched in 2020, is a private travel club for women designed to offer a safer space to list and book vacation rentals.
Similarly, Toronto-based Femmebnb – one of PhocusWire’s Hot 25 Startups for 2022 – is an alternative accommodations platform for women built with maximum safety in mind.
Femmebnb also operates HerCommunity, a digital safe space powered by AI to help women hosts and travelers connect and find friends, engage in interactive travel games and travel smarter in real time.
Meanwhile, travel startup GAFFL – which stands for Get a Friend for Life – connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to share costs and experiences.