Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a global travel community that offers end-to-end trips, including where you stay, what you do and the people you meet. Airbnb Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Community, Brian Chesky said at a company event,
10 years ago, when we started Airbnb, a design conference was happening in San Francisco and all the hotels were sold out.... We have told this story a bunch of times, before. But what we haven't told you is that the design conference was actually here in this theatre, right here at the Masonic..
He added, "Ten years ago we never dreamed of what Airbnb could become. In fact, people thought the idea that strangers would stay in each other's homes was crazy. Today, millions of people every night do just that. But we want to go further by supporting and expanding our community so that in 10 years time, more than 1 billion people per year will experience the benefits of magical travel on Airbnb."
Airbnb's accommodation marketplace offers access to millions of places to stay in more than 191 countries, from apartments and villas to castles, treehouses, and B&Bs. With their Experience feature, people can see a different side to a destination through handcrafted activities run by locals and also find recommendations to the local restaurants (in select countries).
Chesky noted that Airbnb's aim is to help hosts be more successful, bring belonging to more guests and support small businesses in communities such as B&Bs and boutiques that provide local and authentic hospitality. This also includes a continued commitment to partner with authorities around the world on rules that ensure Airbnb strengthens communities. As part of its commitment to be a 21st-century company that operates in the interests of all its stakeholders, including hosts, guests and communities, Airbnb made four announcements-
The Airbnb Host Community currently includes 4.5 million places to stay around the world. Over the years the types of properties on the platform have become increasingly diverse from treehouses to boutique hotels but it's still only possible to navigate by three property types - Shared Space, Private Room and Entire Home. This makes it hard for hosts to stand out and guests can't always find what they're looking for.
To address this, Airbnb added four new property types to its platform - Vacation Home, Unique Space, B&B and Boutique. This will give a greater choice of accommodation options to guests, provide greater transparency over the types of accommodation available, and help hosts better showcase what's unique about them to better match with guests' preferences.
Airbnb is making tools available to hosts to categorise their listings with more detail and providing search capabilities that will allow any traveller to find the host and home that's right for them.
Airbnb was initially designed mainly for solo travel but over the years, people have found the platform suited to a range of different types of travel. To meet the needs of such a diverse range of travellers, Airbnb is launching Collections - homes for every occasion.
Chesky noted that it was launching Airbnb for Family and Airbnb for Work with Collections for Social stays now with Weddings, Honeymoons, Group getaways and Dinner parties coming later this year.
To broaden the appeal of Airbnb to more guests, and to recognise hosts who go above and beyond to provide outstanding hospitality, Airbnb launched a new tier of homes on Airbnb that have been personally verified in person for quality and comfort against a 100+ point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design. Starting with 2000 homes in 13 cities, Airbnb Plus is intended for guests looking for beautiful homes, exceptional hosts and added peace of mind.
Airbnb Plus hosts benefit from top placement, in-home services such as design consultation and expert photography, and premium support. India is currently not on the list of countries for Airbnb Plus.
Hosts and guests are the heart of Airbnb. So the company also announced a Superhost and Superguest programme.
Through its Superhost programme, which now includes 400,000 hosts globally, Airbnb recognises its most loved hosts. The company announced an expansion of the program to offer 14 new and updated benefits including better exposure, custom urls and exclusive benefits on smart home products.
Later this year, Airbnb will also recognise its best guests with a new guest membership programme offering benefits across the entire trip. Chesky noted that Superguest will launch initially to 10,000 guests as a trial this summer before being rolled out to Airbnb's wider guest community before the end of the year.
Following last year's acquisition of Luxury Retreats, Airbnb also announced a luxury offering. Launching this Spring, Beyond by Airbnb will offer custom designed trips, including the world's finest homes, custom experiences, and world-class hospitality.