Saturday, January 22

Airbnb adds new tools in bet remote work is here to stay

Airbnb is rolling out new features, including verified internet speeds at hosts’ homes and options to search listings up to a year in advance, as the vacation rental company bets remote working and flexible travel are here to stay. .

The more than 50 new features, announced a day after the U.S. borders reopened to foreign tourists, are part of CEO Brian Chesky’s vision of a new golden age of travel that was born in the Covid era, where the Work and leisure mix as companies move away from an office-centric lifestyle.

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Long-term stays of 28 days or more are the company’s fastest-growing travel duration category, accounting for 20% of nights booked between July and September, Airbnb said in its third-quarter earnings report for the week. pass.

“I think the practical challenge is finding a spot that’s available for a month,” Chief Strategy Officer Nathan Blecharczyk said in an interview. “If you plan ahead, there is no problem doing that.” Long-term stays also result in less turnover for hosts, he said.

Airbnb posted record third-quarter sales and earnings, demonstrating its resilience in the face of the rising delta variant and persistent demand for work-and-play vacation rentals. Airbnb cited policies from companies such as Procter & Gamble Co., Ford Motor Co. and Inc. that have announced greater flexibility for employees and expect more people to follow suit. That’s one of the reasons Airbnb is helping hosts test their listings for Wi-Fi and check the speed of their site.

“With this update, you can be sure that you won’t miss a Zoom or a favorite streaming show from your Airbnb,” the company said.

The new tools announced Tuesday follow the San Francisco-based company’s “I’m Flexible” campaign in May, which gave guests the option to search for listings up to six months in advance. The feature has been used more than 500 million times, the company said, and the latest update will allow travelers to search for new listings that are “off the grid” and unconventional. During the pandemic, travelers moved away from large urban centers and chose nearby and rural vacation destinations.

But extended stays are also popular in cities during the holidays, and alternative accommodation provides a different experience than staying a month in a hotel. Airbnb has seen a 68% increase in long-term vacation stays compared to 2019 bookings, Blecharczyk said.

“If cities want to capture and be part of these new trends, I believe that Airbnb is a unique piece of infrastructure that will allow it,” he said.

Airbnb’s 4 million hosts are also receiving updates, including AirCover, a protection program that comes with $ 1 million in damage protection and $ 1 million in liability coverage, as well as protection against lost income and deep cleaning.

In an effort to recruit even more hosts to meet growing demand, Airbnb will team up its more experienced “superhosts” with those who have questions about opening their homes to guests. Airbnb is expanding its Ask a Superhost program to more than 30 languages ​​in nearly 200 countries.

“When you are new to this, you have a lot of questions and what is more reassuring than reading it on our website is having a conversation with someone who is actually doing it,” Blecharczyk said.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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