Your Airbnb experience is about to get a bit more collaborative. During OpenAir, Airbnb’s annual tech conference in San Francisco, the company announced a number of updates designed to make it easier to travel with friends, family, and coworkers.
On Airbnb, 77% of all trips include two or more guests, according to Airbnb’s VP of Engineering, Mike Curtis—but up until now, the booking process has only been involved one person. That means that the booking, and even the review process, can get a bit complicated.
Collaboration starts when you begin planning your trip. The “Wish List” feature on Airbnb can be great when you’re trying to pick the perfect place to stay, but when you’re traveling with a group, making that decision typically involves a ton of conversations away from the platform.
Twenty million Airbnb users have saved a listing to a wish list, and 25% of the bookings made on the service are done from a wish list. Now those lists are collaborative, so you can work with a group to create a wish list of ideal properties for the group. Everyone in your group can be invited to the list via Airbnb username or email if they don’t have an account, and then once inside, everyone can vote on their own respective favorite places. That means that rather than trading emails, phone calls, and texts to make a decision, everyone can watch how the vote is shaking out in real time and easily see where everyone else in the group would prefer to stay.
More than 50,000 companies have booked with Airbnb for Business Travel. While 11% of those bookings are done by someone else, like a business manager, they’ve had to be arranged just like a traditional Airbnb booking. That means that a host might think the office manager is coming to stay with them, and the CEO shows up. Not exactly an ideal experience.
Now Airbnb supports third-party bookings, which allows a third party such as personal assistant, travel agent, or even a spouse to book travel for someone else, and designate that the actual booking is being made for someone else. On the host side of things, the host will see the profile of the person who will actually be staying at their home, as well as a note indicating that the booking is being made by someone else on their behalf, so there’s no confusion.
Airbnb says that 75% of trips made on the service are reviewed, but despite the fact that two-thirds of trips are made with two or more guests, only the person who made the booking is able to write a review. Now the platform supports multi-party reviews. The host will be able to write a review that applies to everyone in a group, and individual guests will be able to write reviews of their own.
If one of the guests don’t have an Airbnb account yet, their review will be tied to their email address. That way if they ever do decide to sign up for an account, they’ll already have a review (or several). For someone who is always a guest and never the one booking, that means he or she can start building a reputation on service, good or bad, even before having their own account.
Airbnb’s OpenAir is a one-day conference held each year in San Francisco, where the company is based. Airbnb is currently available in 34,000 cities and 191 countries around the world.