Thanks to companies like Airbnb, regular hotel rooms are so 2008. Why stay in a standard-service room with a hefty price tag when you can save a lot of money by renting out someone else’s abode through the website?
Well as it turns out, a lot of people still aren’t feeling the shift towards cheaper travel.
According to Airbnb, they’ve been missing out on customers seeking a little more luxury in their accommodations; customers who still preferred the the amenities that a hotel has to offer. That’s why they decided to unroll Airbnb Plus, a new service that offers an upscale experience for those wanting more out of their stay.
Well fancy that.
Airbnb Plus launched last Friday in 200 homes across major cities, including Austin, Barcelona, Cape Town, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, Milan, Rome, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney and Toronto. Basically, it’s a higher-end version of the existing service, but also requires properties to pass an inspection by Airbnb employees.
For a listing to qualify as “Plus,” it needs to be well-maintained, feature consistent and functional amenities (like WiFi and TV, full kitchens with all of the proper cooking essentials, and filtered or bottled water), and it needs to go above and beyond to provide guests with a top-notch experience. Think fluffy pillows and thoughtfully-arranged furniture. Basically, the company wants to make sure that these listings offer everything a customer would be able to easily access at home. Additionally, the service comes with a premium customer support program, which makes it easier for guests to contact the company in case something goes wrong.
“Part of what we wanted to do with this launch is reframe why people come to this platform,” Airbnb’s director of engineering, Surabhi Gupta, said in conjunction with the release. “There are a bunch of guests that are’t considering us today, they’ve written us off because they think ‘Airbnb doesn’t have a product for me.”
“We do believe that we have a product for a whole spectrum of [travellers], but we haven’t made it easy for you as a guest to find those options,” added Gupta.
That means the next time you want to head to Topanga, you could actually go “glamping” in this Tipi with beautiful common areas and views, and find the listing with more ease.
Or when you plan your upcoming anniversary trip to Chicago, you can rest assured knowing that your trip to this verified oasis apartment — which comes complete with a hot tub — will be romantic.
“Airbnb Plus hosts are highly rated (4.8+), receive great reviews, and go over and beyond to create the perfect stay,” says the site.
The good news for those who are still travelling on a budget is that these listings aren’t necessarily more expensive than a regular, old Airbnb listing either. According to CEO Brian Chesky, the average price is less than $250 a night, putting it on par with some of those fancy-schmancy hotels out there.
Airbnb Plus isn’t the only change in the company’s future, mind you. With the launch of this new service also came the news of another upcoming program called Beyond by Airbnb. That initiative will offer custom experiences to go with luxury accommodations, and is rolling out later this year. Think mansions sprawled out on mountaintops and beautiful villas sitting by the beach, along with special hiking or snorkelling excursions to accompany them.
With options like that, it’s hard to remember why we ever relied on hotels in the first place.