Less than six months since its last
sweeping updates, Airbnb is launching another round of more than 50 new
products and services for its hosts and guests.
In a video to announce the updates, CEO Brian Chesky says they have been developed to address how the pandemic has changed the way people
live, including that “for millions of people, they’ve been untethered from where
they have to work. They can go anywhere and work anywhere.”
That flexibility is leading to longer stays – Airbnb says 20% of
nights booked between July and September were for stays of a month or longer
and nearly half (45%) were for stays of at least a week. And some of the
updates are intended to serve the needs of hosts that accept those longer stays.
For example, Airbnb is creating a comprehensive protection program
dubbed AirCover. The program incorporates Airbnb’s existing insurance offerings,
such as $1 million in damage protection and $1 million in liability coverage, and
adds protection for pet damage and deep cleaning – funded by Airbnb - beyond
what would be covered by the standard pet and cleaning fees.
head of global operations, Tara Bunch, says the updates have been made based on
surveys and other forms of feedback from hosts and guests.
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said people are traveling with pets, traveling with families and they are staying
for long periods of time. We need things like pet coverage, we need things like
deep cleaning – because when people stay for a really long time, it’s not like
a quick two-hour cleaning job,” she says.
with addressing concerns of existing hosts, Bunch says Airbnb hopes the
enhanced protection helps them attract new inventory.
hope by really eliminating any concern that a prospective host might have by
announcing this product that it will give them the confidence to go ahead and
host and join the Airbnb platform.”
The platform has also created new claims management tools to
make the submission and processing of insurance claims easier and faster – with
expedited service for Superhosts.
updates also include services to address the needs of travelers as the world
reopens. A new “translation engine,” launching by the end of this year, will
automatically translate listings and reviews in 62 languages.
using machine translation from ModernMT, Bunch says the translation service is
an important factor in helping “hosts and guests to interact in a global
marketplace and feel connected and confident.”
can imagine a product like that has amazing extensibility, so I’m just excited
to see where we take that,” Bunch says.
also can now filter property listings based on more than a dozen accessibility
features – such as a step-free entrance. The company says it has already reviewed
and confirmed accessibility features in 25,000 homes around the world.
with the greater interest in fast and reliable Wi-Fi as consumers work while
they travel, Airbnb hosts can do a Wi-Fi speed test within the app and then add
that verified speed to their property’s listing.
is also expanding its flexibility functions to enables users to search for properties
with flexible dates up to 12 months in advance, from the prior six-month span. The platform is also adding four new categories to filter properties: off the grid,
ski in/ski out, luxe and offbeat homes.
joined Airbnb in May 2020 after eight years at Apple where she served as vice president
of AppleCare, the company’s customer service and repair organization.
you think about Apple – they focus on great products and great service. That’s
a similar approach we are taking at Airbnb ... auditing every single feature,
every single product, every single touch point and ensuring that we are really
making it the best in the industry and the best period,” she says.
“All of these upgrades and all of these innovations have been based on those
audits - where are we finding gaps, where can we do better, where are the needs
of our guests and hosts evolving and we need to meet those needs.”