Airbnb debuts premium Plus program and new listing categories


Airbnb today announced a series of changes to its app to give people more ways to decide what kind of home they want to stay in when away from home. Starting this summer, Airbnb will now allow people to search for properties based on new categories like unique homes, vacation homes, bed and breakfasts, and boutique hotels.

Right now homes can only be searched for based on three categories: shared room, private room, and entire home.

Airbnb Collections, homes preset for specific occasions, launches today with offerings like Airbnb for Families and Airbnb for Work. Collections for weddings, honeymoons, dinner parties, and group getaways will be launched later this year.

Also new today: Airbnb launched Plus, a higher tier of Airbnb listings inspected in-person by Airbnb staff to make sure they met the company’s criteria. Plus will begin with 2,000 homes in 13 cities, according to a release from Airbnb. Plus homes are inspected for 100 total areas of interest including cleanliness, comfort, and design.

Plus listings will allow people to delineate between whether the home owner lives on the property or whether the property is owned by a property manager, an Airbnb spokesperson told VentureBeat.

As any seasoned Airbnb user can attest, the quality of your stay can be different based on these settings, since a host that lives on the property can be a helpful local guide, and one hosted by a property manager may be less helpful but provide more privacy.

The series of announcements will be made today in a 10 a.m. press conference held for members of the media and Airbnb staff at The Masonic in San Francisco.

The news today represents some of the largest changes to Airbnb since last year, when it added Experiences, stays that come along with things like a concert or fun workshops. These changes are being made in part to focus on attracting new users, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat.

Earlier this month, the same day as the departure of CFO Laurence Tosi, Airbnb said it will delay plans to file an initial public offering (IPO) until after 2018. A week after Tosi’s departure, a Bloomberg report found that the company was operating an internal hedge fund that may be related to his departure.

More to come.

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