Click here to read the entire article.
Airbnb, the short-term-rental behemoth, announced today that it’s putting “Rooms”—the concept that basically jump-started the sharing-economy movement back in 2008—front and center on its platform.
This “touches the soul of the company,” said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in a press conference ahead of the announcement. Though the company has always offered travelers the ability to book a room in a shared space—the original Airbnb proposition—those lower-budget stays took the backseat over the past decade as the company emphasized its inventory of entire houses and apartments, and even staffed luxury villas.
With the relaunched Rooms, Airbnb is highlighting these shared spaces in a tab right on the home screen, allowing travelers to more easily search for them. It’s also eliminating some of the discomfort around staying with a stranger by including a “Host Passport” alongside each listing, which includes biographical info about the host, along with dating app-style prompts about their personality.
This focus on Rooms could help the company earn back goodwill from travelers who have become increasingly vocal about rising prices on Airbnb. (The average daily rate of an Airbnb listing has increased 36% since 2019, according to David Stephenson on the company’s most recent earnings call.) Currently, Airbnb has one million Rooms on its platform, with an average price of $65 a night, said Chesky. Along with Rooms, the company is also introducing new features that make it easier for travelers to see the total price of a stay for any style of accommodation, to avoid sticker shock. They’re part of a larger push by the company to fix some of its core design issues.
Click here to keep reading.