Each year, Airbnb launches two major updates to its platform: Summer and Winter releases. Recently, Airbnb launched its 2023 Summer Release, featuring over 50 new features and upgrades. The updates included in this release are based on feedback the company has received from its community of guests and hosts, CEO Brian Chesky’s learnings from staying at over a “dozen and a half” Airbnbs for six months in 2022, and in anticipation of the 300 million guest arrivals forecasted on the platform in 2023.
This release includes a new category, changes to how price and checkout instructions are displayed, improvements to features such as maps, and redesigning of features such as wishlists.
As part of its Summer 2023 release, Airbnb is returning to its origins as a platform that provided travelers a way to book rooms in other people’s homes with the launch of Airbnb Rooms.
According to Airbnb, over 80% of its private rooms are under $100 per night at an average price of $67 per night, with the new category featuring over 1 million listings. Each listing includes a private bedroom as well as access to shared spaces like the kitchen, living room, and even backyards, if available. Each Airbnb Room must also indicate if the bedroom has its own lock, if the bathrooms are shared or private, and if people other than the host will also be present during the stay.
As per the new Summer Release, every Airbnb Room will now feature a Host Passport.
The Host Passport, which replaces the Host Profile, will show a larger photo and more details of the hosts. This includes basic information such as their average ratings, number of reviews, Superhost status, and number of years hosting, but also more personal information like the number of languages they speak, what they do for work (apart from Airbnb), or their interests and quirks. The Host Passport also shows the different destinations that the host has traveled to, including through Airbnb.
According to Airbnb, this allows guests to build a connection with their host even before they start their trip and will lead to a more comfortable stay.
The Summer 2023 release includes over 50 additional updates and features to the platform such as improved pricing tools, quicker replies in messaging, and the ability to compare similar listings in their locations more easily. Some of the most important updates include:
Touted since 2022, the Total Price Display now shows guests the total price they pay for their stay, including all applicable fees, before taxes. This is effective across the app, including on search results, the price filter, and maps.
Checkout instructions can now be viewed on the listing page, before guests book. They will also receive a reminder before they leave the home.
Airbnb has redesigned some of its filters, such as the ‘Type of Place’ filter, making it easier to switch between types of places such as Airbnb Rooms, entire homes, and others. Also, the average price for each type of place is now more visible, and the price filter will update based on guests’ selections.
Based on complaints by over 80% of guests, Airbnb has updated its maps feature to be faster, include persistent pins that will remain while zooming and panning, and show more results.
The redesigned Wishlist interface allows users to save wishes with just a single tap and includes an improved calendar that shows the availability of the Wishlisted listings. Users can also add notes to each listing to remind themselves why they loved the property.
Airbnb has partnered with fintech company Klarna to allow guests in the US and Canada to pay for their stays in 4 interest-free installments over 6 weeks. US-based guests can also apply to pay monthly for bookings over $500. More countries will be made eligible for the service in the coming months.
Now guests can receive their rebooking credit instantly if the host cancels less than 30 days prior to check-in, allowing them to rebook immediately.
Note: These updates are currently being rolled out worldwide, and may take some time depending on your location.
The launch of Airbnb Rooms allows Airbnb to capitalize on inflationary pressures, bringing more guests and more hosts to the platform as well as countering the perception that Airbnb stays are expensive. It caters to budget-conscious travelers as well as GenZ travelers (who have shown preference to platforms like the app-first Hopper that offer the best prices for all their travel needs), by offering affordable stays that also introduce to them new people in new cities. The Host Passport adds to this as travelers can also make their choice based on how they perceive potential hosts’ personalities and interests match with their own.
Ensuring guests are aware if the room they book has its own lock may help address safety issues experienced by female guests that led to Airbnb halting the promotion of private rooms. This, however, can put pressure on 1-BR property owners who may now be priced out by the Airbnb Rooms category. There are also concerns that Host Passports may lead to discrimination against hosts.
Airbnb hosts should also take particular notice of checkout instructions being displayed on the listing page prior to booking as excessive instructions could lead to lower conversion. With Airbnb’s statement that listings with low ratings and unreasonable chores will be removed from the platform, some hosts may have to rethink what they can ask guests to do.