Airbnb has been aggressive in its efforts to diversify product offerings, and with its latest, the home-sharing pioneer plans to expand even further to become a travel behemoth.
The new services, geared towards travelers looking for luxury accommodations and traditional hotels, were revealed by Chief Executive Brian Chesky last Thursday at an event in San Francisco.
The company is adding four new property types: Vacation Home, Unique Space (such as igloos and houseboats), Bed and Breakfast, and Boutique. The new categories will be added this summer to its traditional Shared Space, Private Room and Entire Home options.
The accommodations provider is also introducing Collections, which aims to guide travelers on the best property that suits their needs, such as families or newlyweds. Airbnb has launched Collections for family and work trips, and will expand to include weddings, honeymoons, and group getaways later this year.
Another initiative, Airbnb Plus will comprise “beautiful homes from exceptional hosts.” These accommodations will run at an average rate of $200, compared to the standard $100, and will meet 100 different criteria for quality and cleanliness. Checkpoints will ensure properties have standard amenities like WiFi, extra towels, and toiletries. It will also guarantee a clean refrigerator with no stains or damage, bathroom cabinets free of personal items, and shower tiles and floors without cracks or mildew.
To have homes listed in this tier, landlords must pay a $149 application fee and then have their homes inspected by the company’s staff. Airbnb will also charge fees of up to 15 percent for guests and about 3 percent for hosts on the price of each rental, while landlords will be able to charge a premium price.
Airbnb Plus debuts with more than 2,000 homes in 13 cities. By the end of this year, the number of Plus units is expected to grow to include over 75,000 homes in more than 50 destinations.
Diving into the luxury space, Airbnb is rumored to be developing a luxury rental option, Beyond Airbnb that could be introduced as early as late spring, following its purchase last year of the home rental company Luxury Retreats.
Airbnb has launched several initiatives as of late, as the company’s home-sharing service faces stricter regulations in cities like New York, San Francisco, and London. The company ventured into tours in 2016, selling customized multi-day packaged trips, as well as cooking classes and other activities.