Airbnb Doubles Flexible Search, Improves Host Flow for Summer 2021 – TechCrunch

As we head into vaccination summer, travel is expected to start rebounding from 2020 lows, and Airbnb is betting it will be very different than it was in the pre-COVID era.

The home sharing platform has introduced big changes, across a wide variety of feature sets, which focus on flexibility for guests and simplicity for hosts. The end goal, according to Airbnb’s head of customer experience Sam shank, is to increase both the volume and the diversity of the offer of the operation.

For starters, Airbnb streamlined the process of becoming a host, minimizing the number of steps it takes to get an listing. Machine learning algorithms can also now automatically organize photos based on guest appeal, and hosts receive suggestions from Airbnb on the best headlines and descriptions for their listing.

Image credits: Airbnb

The company is also adding new layers of data to the system, integrating with publicly available property data, so hosts can simply enter their address and have information like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms automatically populated.

Other improvements to the hosting experience include a redesigned ‘Welcome to Hosting’ hub and a new Today tab that helps hosts keep up with new messages, tasks, and more.

On the guest side, Airbnb doubles the flexibility features.

In February, for example, the company introduced a flexible date search, allowing people to search for listings based on trip type rather than dates. Users can now search for a long weekend, a week’s trip, or a month’s trip.

Today, Airbnb announced that it is making its search product even more flexible with “Flexible Match” and “Flexible Destinations”.

Flexible matching essentially adds leeway to a more specific search. For example, if a user searches for listings under $ 250 / night, they might display listings that meet all of the other criteria but are priced slightly outside that range. Or, if a user is looking for a certain set of amenities, they might view a list that is only missing one.

Flexible destinations allow a user to search for a certain type of ad regardless of the location. Think treehouses or beachfront properties.

Image credits: Airbnb

Together, this kind of flexible search will expose customers to a much more diverse ad pool, and the updated host feed should increase supply in some of these less explored destinations.

“Brian [Chesky] says we have the right amount of hosts for this summer, but also that we have the ability to add millions of hosts, ”said Shank, explaining that changing the way people find places extends their search to a more diversified offer.

“If you were to sum up a big theme, it’s really about helping us get a more diverse and unique supply and helping more people be successful as Hosts, and recognize the benefits of that,” said Shank. “There are financial benefits and also the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. “

Along with flexible search updates and improved guest flow, Airbnb is also upgrading its community support service, doubling the number of support agents available by phone this summer and expanding coverage to ‘assistance from 11 to 42 languages. The company also redesigned the Help Center, making it easier to navigate for Hosts and Guests.

In total, this version includes over 100 product updates.

Much of this was informed by Airbnb’s 2021 Trends Report, which showed that families both drove and diversified travel in the summer of 2020, with family travel dropping by 27%. 33% of nights reserved in summer 2021 worldwide. Among family trips, 42% of booked nights were made in rural destinations, which is an increase of 10 percentage points from summer 2019.

The company’s work to expand its listing offering is not surprising given that it is now a public company, giving it a slightly less forgiving investor base to impress on a quarterly basis. . Airbnb has survived the COVID-19 pandemic better than expected, in part thanks to users who booked long stays during their quarantine. But now Airbnb must lead its industry in the post-COVID world if it is to not only defend its position in the market, but also the very growth rates that have helped it become the well-known brand that it remains today. ‘hui.

Of course, integrating more hosts with more automated tools opens the door to quality risks. We’ll see how users react to both an increase in supply and a more computer-aided generation of supply.

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