More than 15 years since it launched, Airbnb has announced it’s introducing a new take on its original offering. Called Airbnb Rooms, the new category, like its name suggests, will let guests more easily find rooms to rent.
The idea behind the new category is that it’ll be more affordable for guests and that guests will be more able to meet someone new and experience the area like a local with the help of their Airbnb host. Many listings offer access to shared spaces like the kitchen, living room or backyard.
“With Airbnb Rooms, we’re getting back to the idea that started it all – back to our founding ethos of sharing,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and CEO. “Airbnb Rooms are often more affordable than hotels, and they’re the most authentic way to experience a city. This is the soul of Airbnb.”
The platform says that last year, nights in private room listings in Australia grew by almost 50%. In addition to that, it says, globally, last year, more than 80% of private room stays were under USD $100 a night with the average rate of a private room in Australia AUD $104.
There are over one million listings now on Airbnb Rooms in more than 60,000 cities and towns around the world. Among them, Melbourne and Sydney are among the top five trending destinations, globally.
Airbnb also announced it would be adding over 50 new features and upgrades to its platform, based on feedback from its community. They include improved maps with faster performance and more results when searching, redesigned wishlists and more transparency around checkout requests.
In other words, you’ll be able to view any “chore requests” on the listing page before booking and get a reminder about them before you leave the room. During the review process, you’ll also be able to share with Airbnb any excessive requests. Listings with repeated low ratings from unreasonable chores will be removed from Airbnb.
“Millions of people have given us feedback on how to improve Airbnb,” said Chesky. “Today, we’re introducing the most extensive set of updates ever. Our design-driven approach means we’re always making Airbnb better, and our over 50 new features and upgrades are just the beginning.”
Another big change is more affordable monthly stays. For stays over three months, the guest service fee will be significantly reduced after the third month. Guests will also get priority customer service if they’re already on a trip, with Airbnb aiming to answer 90% of calls in English in two minutes or less.
The new changes will begin rollout from Thursday, May 4 in Australia.