Travel booking company Airbnb, on Wednesday, launched a series of major feature updates describing them as "a new Airbnb for a new world of travel". Brian Chesky, the Airbnb co-founder and CEO, called the redesign "the biggest change to Airbnb in a decade."
Major changes include a new search based on category, the ability to book two listings together for stays over a week, and AirCover for guests that offers a form of travel insurance provided by the company.
To add flexibility to user experience, the new search includes 'categories' in type of home (such as A-frames, cabins, castles, and tiny homes), as well as in-home features (amazing pools, chef’s kitchens, and creative spaces), location type (arctic, beach, farm), and activity (surfing, golfing, ski-in/ski-out). The company says that the feature is "designed to help guests discover one-of-a-kind homes". The new design offers 50 categories of homes chosen for their style, location or nearby activities.
Airbnb has also introduced 'split stays' that will allow users to book a two-week trip and stay in two different listings when neither of those listings are available for the full two weeks. Split stays are available across 14 of Airbnb’s new categories, as well as for specific destination searches. This new feature is critical as Airbnb says that more people are taking longer trips than ever before. "Now guests can find an average of 40 per cent more listings when searching for those longer stays," Airbnb said in its blog.
Airbnb has also announced AirCover for guests to protect them against host cancellations, check-in issues, and have access to a 24-7 Safety Line. Moreover, Airbnb is offering a ‘Get-What-You-Booked’ guarantee, in which if a listing isn’t as it was advertised, Airbnb will give guests a refund or find them a listing of the same or better quality for their trip.
"If at any time during a guest’s stay they find their listing isn't as advertised – for example, the fridge stops working and the Host can’t easily fix it, or it has fewer bedrooms than listed – guests will have three days to report it and we’ll find them a similar or better home or we’ll refund them," it said.
AirCover is designed directly into the Airbnb app and website, that the company says would make it easy for guests to contact an agent at any time and resolve issues quickly. "To deliver AirCover, we created a team of specially trained agents for last-minute rebooking assistance and expanded our 24-hour Safety Line to be available in more languages than ever," the company added.
In addition, the company has added several other features that include intelligent matching, animated mapping and easy booking to discover split stays.
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