Airbnb’s platform has officially been open to hotels since February, but not all travelers - primarily on the site to browse and book homes - have discovered the inventory.
That's in part because hotels haven't been featured on the site's homepage - until now.
The company is pushing its hotels business by featuring a “Boutique Hotels” category on the main Airbnb landing page and by including hotels in its space type filter.
On the homepage, Boutique Hotels lives next to the Entire Homes and Airbnb Plus categories in the “More ways to stay in 2019” section. The placement is intended to make hotels easier for guests to discover and book.
If guests filter results by Home Type, hotel room is now included among the entire place, private room and shared room filters.
Airbnb says the filter change is significant because Home Type is among the top sorting mechanisms for guests, and there hasn’t been an update to that section in some time.
The company also says the update helps hotel owners or managers merchandise their properties up front.
While on the surface the two changes might seem subtle, they speak to where Airbnb is placing a focus beyond its core home-share business.
Though the company has not been quiet about its overall ambitions, it has kept its long-term strategy for hotels largely under wraps.
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SiteMinder was named as the first platform to act as channel manager on a global scale, and there are a handful of other partners that also work with hotels. But beyond that, Airbnb has stayed mum on who it will work with next.
The update also more closely mirrors how Booking.com promotes its accommodations offerings: On Booking.com, hotels and homes listings are combined, which some have surmised gives Booking the upper hand (and which president of Airbnb Homes Greg Greeley shrugged off last month).
Whatever the case, Airbnb has hotels (and whether it will admit it: the competition) on its mind, and we're likely to hear more on the subject next year.