Airbnb celebrates 10 years and announces exciting new offerings

Posted by Michelle Hardie on 10 March 2018

From 16 listings to a whopping 4.5 million in 10 years – welcome to Airbnb’s host-led world.

Airbnb head office in San Francisco is a cool space designed to put staff at the heart of its business. Photograph by Michelle Hardie

Who would have thought that three guests sleeping on blow-up beds on the floor of Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia‘s apartment in 2007 would grow to 300-million check-ins worldwide a decade later – and earn hosts more than $41 billion collectively? This shared economy with ordinary citizens has caught on like wildfire, and travellers can choose to have a much more intimate experience – staying in someone’s home and living like a local no matter how short your stay.

I joined more than 170 journalists from across the globe for Airbnb’s 10th birthday at its San Francisco headquarters, where changes to its core business were outlined in the Roadmap.

Currently, users can navigate three property types (Entire Home, a Private Room or a Shared Space) but in the coming months it’ll be possible to narrow down your accommodation needs to the point where if you want a rustic home belonging to a musician with a piano, you’ll be able to find it. Options will include Vacation Home (book a chalet in a ski resort), Unique Space (how about a beagle-shaped house where you sleep in its head and you can also take your dog?), B&B and Boutique which will all be added in the next few months.

Airbnb has also launched Collections with homes to suit whatever you are travelling for. Properties for family gatherings or work trips are already on the platform and coming up are places for wedding parties, honeymooners, group getaways and dinner parties.

Hosts can stand out too. Check out the new tier Airbnb Plus for those who go the extra mile – it features exceptional homes that are inspected and verified against a 100+ point checklist.

Travellers with loads of cash can tuck into Beyond by Airbnb, which offers custom-designed trips including the world’s finest homes, customised experiences and first-class hospitality.

The Airbnb Community is key and loyalty is rewarded – a Superhost programme has begun giving extra benefits for the most loved hosts, and if hosts think you’re a fabulous and considerate guest who’s welcome to come back, you’ll be included in the Superguest programme.

Airbnb staff worldwide get to eat three meals a day at the office; you can take your dog to work too. Photographs by Michelle Hardie.

Airbnb Experiences, launched in November 2016, grew 25 times faster in 2017 than Homes did in its first year. Look out for New Passion categories to be added during 2018 which include Airbnb Concerts (the focus is on intimate live shows by struggling and emerging artists for less than 50 guests in an unexpected venue such as a recording studio), Social Dining (this is for foodies who also want to make friends) and Adventures (trips to the North Pole are on the cards). All hosts are selected on expertise, local access and great hospitality.

Airbnb is also expanding its Social Impact Experiences where travellers can do something transformative by connecting to activities run by nonprofit organisations. If you’re into this, all your cash goes to the nonprofit. Many in Airbnb’s host community are giving free, short-term accommodation to refugees, (there are 3000 sleeping on the streets of Paris), evacuees from disasters and others needing help to rebuild their lives.

I’ll end here with a few wow stats: more than 191 countries are covered by Airbnb, with 81000 cities listing homes on the site – the database stocks over 170 million photos; and it seems the world is yearning to be in nature. Take a look at this treehouse in Atlanta – it’s the most wanted property globally.

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