Once upon a time, Airbnb was a service for travelers looking to bypass the hotel industry and save a bit of money, while renting a ‘home’ on holiday wherever they want. Usually, using an Airbnb is a financial decision, but things are about to change.
Offering two new services – Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb – the online hospitality service is now targeting wealthier travelers looking for a more high-end experience.
Airbnb Plus is like the regular Airbnb, but on steroids. According to the company, it’s aimed at “guests looking for beautiful homes and exceptional hosts,” with all potential listings required to pass a 100+ point inspection by an Airbnb employee who physically comes out to the premises
The new service doesn’t necessarily offer apartments at a much higher rate than the regular one, with CEO Brian Chesky claiming the average price is still less than $250 a night, but it comes with certain guarantees. Should you book a listing on Airbnb Plus, you’ll find a well-stocked kitchen, fast Wi-Fi, and comfortable bedding, as well as premium customer support to deal with any problems you might encounter.
If you’re hosting on Airbnb plus, then you’ll get a few perks yourself, such as being ranked higher in the search and a dedicated section on the app. All you need to do is pay $149 for your application to the program.
Airbnb Plus already has 2,000 homes registered in 13 cities and it’s safe to assume that this number will grow quickly.
Airbnb Beyond, however, offers something a bit different – curated experiences with luxury accommodation. Still, to actually get going, the homes that will be listed on Beyond are a cut above the regular offerings, such as beachside villas and private mansions, thanks to Airbnb’s acquisition of Luxury Retreats.
Yet another reason why traditional hotels will be feeling Airbnb breathing down their necks, these two new services show that they want to appeal to as many people as possible and not just travelers on a budget.
Director of Engineering Surabhi Gupta explained “Part of what we wanted to do with this launch, is reframe why people come to this platform.
“There are a bunch of guests that aren’t considering us today, they’ve written us off because they think ‘Airbnb doesn’t have a product for me.’
“We do believe that we have a product for a whole spectrum of travelers, but we haven’t made it easy for you as a guest to find those options.”
With so many changes coming, Airbnb has one more card up their sleeve – the “Superguest” program. This is essentially a form of gamification where top users will be offered extra perks.