On its 10th birthday, Airbnb just launched high-end options to lure discerning travelers

On its 10th birthday, Airbnb just launched high-end options to lure discerning travelers
[Photo: Raysonho/Wikimedia Commons]

Airbnb is giving its homes a new sheen with the launch of high-end tiers aimed at offering travelers more consistency. The company is announcing new premium options Thursday at San Francisco’s marble-columned venue the Masonic—perhaps a nod to the higher-end offering and its desire to reach a wider mass of consumers.

Here’s a rundown of what’s being announced:

  • New tiers: Airbnb Plus and Luxury. To introduce more consistency, Airbnb Plus will include homes that have undergone 100-point inspection. There will be 2,000 inaugural homes in 13 cities including, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Milan. Homes will average $200 per night. In the spring, the company will also launch a luxury tier called Beyond by Airbnb, offering extravagant homes with the option to book a butler or personal chef.
  • Categorization: Now customers will be able to search for accommodations based on what kind of home they want—for instance, a place with great architecture. Airbnb is also launching something called Collections, which is supposed to narrow down homes based on the reason for travel (say, for a family-friendly vacation instead of a work trip).
  • Hotels: While hotels have been on the platform for a while, Airbnb has now created better integration with hotel inventory systems. Expect to see more hotels, B&Bs, and boutique venues on the platform.
  • Loyalty: Superhosts and Superguests. Airbnb is updating its “Superhost” program to include more benefits, including tax-preparation help, access to more marketing tools, the ability to give discounts to certain customers, and custom URLs. These services will roll out over the course of this year. It’s also launching “Superguests” later this summer with a 10,000-guest pilot coming in the spring.

While Airbnb is widely known by consumers, adoption of the platform has not yet cracked into the mainstream. The company is trying to figure out how to break out of the alternative accommodations category and appeal to those who are perhaps wary about staying in another person’s home. Airbnb is hoping to create a pathway for consumers by making its offerings more diverse.

By late afternoon Thursday, 1,000 hosts were seeking consideration for Airbnb Plus, CEO Brian Chesky tweeted. The company charges $149 per application.

[Pictured: Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky at an event in San Francisco]