Airbnb decides to stop asking customers where they want to go

Airbnb will suggest properties holidaymakers might want to visit instead of asking them to enter a destination as it tackles claims that it contributes to over-tourism.

The company unveiled what it called the biggest shift in its history to move tourists away from hotspots and into remote locations.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive, said it would “redistribute” tourism and help keep crowds of travelers from flocking to towns such as Venice and Paris at rush hour.

“Overtourism is not too many people in the world traveling, I think overtourism is too many people going to the same place at the same time,” he said. . “We’re trying to spread everyone out to as many dates and locations as possible.”

The redesign will see Airbnb’s app and website no longer require users to enter a destination and date before showing properties, which the company says has been standard practice among travel websites for 25 years. year.

Instead, users will scroll through categories such as treehouses, mansions, beaches and vineyards, although potential tourists can still search by date and location if they wish.

“We believe that if we can move away from the search field, we can help redistribute travel,” Chesky said.

Airbnb, launched in 2008, has disrupted tourism by shifting accommodation from hotels to rooms or private properties. However, it has been accused of gutting popular tourist spots because local residents are unable to outspend owners who host guests using the website.

Airbnb saw a stronger rebound than many pandemic travel agencies, with revenues in the first quarter of this year 80% higher than the same period in 2019.

However, changing tourism patterns have led to tensions in new regions such as Cornwall and Yorkshire, rather than cities such as Barcelona which struggled with the business before the pandemic.

Mr. Chesky said he is making these changes in part in the hope that more people will want to travel longer due to the rise of remote working.

Last month, Airbnb said it would allow its more than 6,000 employees to work from anywhere for most of the year.

Airbnb’s revamp includes its app automatically suggesting that people split their time between two different properties on a longer trip, which the company says would make more listings available.

The company said it will also provide more customer support, such as providing a better property or refund when a host cancels within 30 days of a check-in or when properties don’t turn out as advertised.

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