Airbnb is getting deeper into the hotel and travel agency businesses

Airbnb is getting deeper into the hotel and travel agency businesses

New rules to take effect for platforms like Airbnb in SF CEO Brian Chesky introduced Airbnb Plus Thursday, where homes are personally visited and verified by inspectors.

Airbnb has expanded its offering to include hotels, luxury properties and a loyalty programme for guests as the California startup shifts towards a full-service travel-booking company. Now Airbnb will offer four new property types to search from-vacation home, unique spaces (think boats, domes and tree houses), B&Bs, and boutique. So, why the change now?

"Beyond by Airbnb will offer custom designed trips of a lifetime, including the world's finest homes, custom experiences, and world-class hospitality", Airbnb wrote.

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In fact, you'll often find these kinds of kinds of home setups already in place when you're searching for places to stay overseas. Rather than just booking a hotel at a luxury resort you find on TripAdvisor, Airbnb is trying to build the credibility that it can offer unique experiences you won't find in those hotel environments - whether that's a tiny apartment in the middle of Shinjuku, Japan, to a lovely condo in the middle of Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

Up to now, searching on Airbnb has been admittedly narrow with three property types: Shared Space, Private Room and Entire Home. Superhosts will also now also have access to 30 percent off Nest home devices through a partnership Airbnb signed with the company. The addition of these new categories give guests more options while allowing hosts to be more transparent about their rentals, the company said.

The service is launching today to mark Airbnb's 10th anniversary. Starting with 2000 homes in 13 cities available to book right now, Airbnb Plus is intended for guests looking for lovely homes, exceptional hosts and added peace of mind.

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It will offer people who rent their homes through the tier in-home design consultation and expert photography, but did not say if there was a cost associated with the services or listings. Now, people need to scroll through listings to find what's right for them, but with more collections they'll be able to choose from categories like weddings, group getaways and dinner parties.

Details on what the benefits are weren't specified, but the feature will launch initially to 10,000 guests as a trial this summer before being rolled out to the rest of the community before the end of the year.

Airbnb is trying to move into the mainstream. "If Airbnb wants to enter the hoteling business, then it needs to be regulated, taxed and subject to the same safety compliances".

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"The question that cities and neighborhoods should be asking-will these "Plus" or "Boutique" listings include commercial operators exploiting Airbnb's platform to run illegal hoteling schemes that have fractured our communities, raised serious safety concerns and increased the price of rent while depleting affordable housing options?"

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