Airbnb’s large new replace focuses on flexibility – here is what’s new

The Airbnb logo can be seen on a small mini pyramid under the glass pyramid of the Louvre in Paris, France, on March 12, 2019.

Charles Platiau | Reuters

Airbnb announced more than 100 new changes and updates to its platform on Monday, with an emphasis on flexibility, before seeing a much-anticipated surge in travel as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to subside in some parts of the world.

The stock rose about 1% in the early afternoon.

The changes are due to Airbnb’s results in the first quarter. While the net loss due to debt settlements and restructuring charges tripled, 64.4 million nights and booked experiences were reported, a 39% increase from the previous quarter and a 13% increase from a year earlier, showing the company is taking off from the impact the pandemic has recovered. During Airbnb’s call for profits in early May, CEO Brian Chesky said the company would work to drive customer demand to where it knows it has supply from hosts. The changes can help with that.

Chesky said Monday that Airbnb is also making the updates because people are less attached to home and work, travel more often, and stay at their destinations longer.

Changes for Airbnb guests

Airbnb adds three new search options including flexible dates, destinations and entries.

The flexible matching feature displays options that are just outside a user’s search parameters. For example, a listing will show up in search even if it’s a little more expensive or a few miles outside of the original range.

For flexible destinations, the Airbnb app or website may recommend certain types of houses, such as castles or adobe houses, to search for.

The flexible dates feature was introduced in February and allows users to search for a destination without any time constraints. That said, it’s easier to search if you just want to travel and open the week or month of availability.

Airbnb said it is also launching a faster checkout process, updated verification systems, and clearer cancellation policies. You will receive a new arrival guide that includes information such as door codes, WiFi directions and directions to the property.

Changes for Airbnb hosts

Additionally, Airbnb is making changes for hosts that can help more people list their homes.

For example, people who want to create a list now only have to do 10 steps instead of dozen to get started.

A new Today tab allows hosts to manage bookings, inquiries, current guests and quick access to the most popular hosting tools, according to Airbnb. Messages received from hosts load faster and support quick replies, which hosts can use to send an answer to a frequently asked question.

Airbnb said it will double the number of customer service reps this summer and that Superhosts will have a dedicated support team. Experienced hosts get priority access to the “most experienced” helpers.

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