The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic have changed travel significantly, as showcased in our short term rental trends for 2022. Building on updates it has made over the past 2 years as a response to the changes in how people view travel and choose to travel, Airbnb recently released a Summer 2022 Update. Referred to as the “biggest change in a decade” by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, it consists of three major changes: Airbnb Categories, Airbnb Split Stays, and Airbnb AirCover for guests.
What are the main features of Airbnb Split Stays?
1. Available for bookings a minimum of one week in length and up to 6 months
2. Appears on searches for specific destinations and/or 14 Categories
3. Stays can only be split between two properties
4. Date of check-out of first stay is the same as date of check-in of second stay
5. Listings are matched based on location, property type, and amenities
6. One or both reservations can be canceled at any time
7. A Split Stay still amounts to 2 reservations. Each listing’s policies and rules will apply
Split Stays is a response to Airbnb guests choosing longer stays. Data from Airbnb show that nearly half of all nights booked on its platform in the first quarter of 2022 were for trips at least a week long. This is twice as many long-term stays as the first quarter of 2019.
This follows on 2021 Airbnb data that showed 100,000 guests booked stays that lasted at least 3 months while 1 in 5 nights booked from July to September being for stays of a month or longer. And while 87% of listings on Airbnb accept long term stays of 28 days or longer, demand could be seen outpacing inventory in a number of markets.
Split Stays allows users to split their stay between two Airbnb properties for the duration of their stay with ease so they can better spend their vacation time, exploring more locations and experiences.
An integrated feature within Airbnb search, Split Stays automatically shows up on searches for reservations of at least one week. With Split Stays the Airbnb algorithm pairs two listings based on similarity of location, property type, and amenities. Users can view the distance between the two locations, the route of travel on a map, and the sequence of the stays and then reserve both in one booking, one property at a time.
Split Stay options appear when users search a specific destination as well as 14 Airbnb categories such as Camping, Design, Skiing, Tropical, and National Parks. For example, a user browsing the National Parks category may see a suggestion for properties near Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, which are about 110 miles apart. Or a user looking to enjoy both the lake and mountains of Lake Tahoe can easily design their stay to enjoy both.
While Split Stays takes most of the work out of choosing and booking two separate Airbnbs located not too many hours away from each other for your one vacation, each listing in the booking is considered to be a separate reservation and will show up as two trips in the user’s Trips tab. Users can choose to cancel one or both reservations at any time though they will be bound by each listing’s cancellation policy. They will also have to communicate with each host separately.
An easier experience booking more than one place during one stay
Explore more neighborhoods, destinations, and experiences
Guests are not forced to choose one favorite unique stay, they can have two
Know how far away from each other the properties are immediately
See 40% more listings to show up during search
According to Airbnb, Split Stays allows Airbnb to add 40% more listings to search results. This allows listings that don’t exactly fit the search criteria of users to show up, bringing up, for example, a rural farm that is outside of the destination being searched for but matches the property type and/or amenities chosen, expanding the number of hosts being offered a chance to be booked. This improves visibility for many hosts.
Split Stays also allows for properties that have availability for only part of the stay to also show up in search results. Previously they would have been excluded due to not being available throughout the dates entered unless the search criteria had been specifically adjusted.
On the other hand, however, Split Stays increases competition between listings.
Airbnb Split Stays is only the first step towards the eventual realization of the holy grail of algorithmic travel booking – a platform that builds an entire travel itinerary based on what the user likes, wants, and needs. While the feature currently only allows splits between two Airbnb properties, it is more than likely that Airbnb will use the learnings from the rollout to allow for more pairings, between 3 or 4 listings or 2 listings and an Airbnb Experience, and so on, in the near future.