Since the conception of Airbnb, people have been able to travel at a cheaper price because accommodation has now become a lot cheaper if you are willing to take the chance and sleep in a stranger's home. If taking chances isn't your style, Airbnb has announced the launch of a new tier in its service called Airbnb Plus that works on higher end accommodation which means it is now able to directly compete with boutique hotels. The accommodation being advertised on Airbnb Plus is said to have been verified for quality and would include amenities one would get in a hotel.
The description on the Airbnb website states that: “Every Airbnb Plus home is one-of-a-kind, thoughtfully designed, and equipped with a standard set of amenities – whether you’re in a private room or have the entire place to yourself. All Airbnb Plus homes are visited in person to ensure comfort, consistency, and design. They are checked for 100-plus things that guests told us they love, from must-have amenities to the art on the walls.” Hosts are required to have a rating of 4.8 out of 5 or higher and the service was launched on the 22nd of February.
The app has 2000 listings so far in 13 cities including Austin, Barcelona, Cape Town, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, Milan, Rome, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney, and Toronto. The average cost of the luxury accommodation will be double that of the regular listings and will display a Plus badge next to the listing. The hosts of the accommodation must join the program and pay a $149 application fee and an Airbnb photographer and an inspector will come to the house to assess whether it meets the standards. The standards include a clean refrigerator, full cooking equipment, and stocked toiletries, among many other small and subtle details.
The new feature aims to attract more guests and provide premium customer support to get hosts to be more involved in the service and will receive a higher search rating in the app. Hotels will also be listed on the app, working with hotels instead of viewing them as the rival. Users will be able to find these hotel listings on travel sites like Expedia. Airbnb aims to benefit from this by listing hotels at a cheaper price than what is listed on standard travelling sites with categories: vacation homes and B&Bs and join the existing shared room, private room, and full house categories. Airbnb is also preparing to launch a "unique" category for unusual homes like treehouses and castles.
With big changes coming to Airbnb, they are hoping that the upgrade will provide a customised, luxury feel for accommodation listings.