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Airbnb launches 50+ product upgrades and innovations to support travel revolution

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Mon, 11/15/2021 - 12:02
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*YouGov polling commissioned by Airbnb reveals almost 90% of all Thai respondents would like to work, live or travel differently, if they had more flexibility at work *Longer stays are trending in Thailand, with long term stays of over 28 nights making up for at least half of all recent nights in Bangkok and Phuket

Bangkok, Thailand - In May, Airbnb introduced its 2021 Release with over 100 upgrades to improve every aspect of the Airbnb service. Today, the company announces an additional 50+ upgrades that make it easier to host and support the changing needs of travellers.

From March 2020 to September 2021*, new Thai Hosts who started hosting post-pandemic collectively earned over THB59.7 million from welcoming guests on Airbnb. The world is undergoing a revolution in how we live and work. Technologies like Zoom make it possible to work from home. Airbnb makes it possible to work from any home. This newfound flexibility is bringing about a revolution in how people travel.

In Thailand, a popular global destination for digital nomads and workations, longer stays are trending as the country reopens its international borders, with long term stays of over 28 nights making up for at least half of all recent Airbnb nights booked in Bangkok and Phuket.**

New research commissioned by Airbnb*** demonstrates this dramatic shift in how people want to live, travel and work:

  • Almost 90% of Thai respondents would like to work, live or travel differently, if they had more flexibility in how they work.
  • Over 40% of Thai respondents see travelling as a way of life.
  • Over 75% of Thai respondents now view ‘business travel’ as a way of combining travel and working remotely, and a third would like to spend more time travelling and working in different locations.

To support Hosts and Guests through these changes to the way we live and work, Airbnb is also unveiling 50+ upgrades and innovations across the platform’s entire service to support this travel revolution.

  • I’m (even more) Flexible - Search for more unique homes up to 12 months in advance.
  • Verified Wifi - Airbnb’s new speed test tool verifies the speed of the wifi in a listing.
  • Translation Engine - The most advanced translation technology ever offered to our community.
  • Accessibility Review - Every accessibility feature is reviewed for 100% accuracy.
  • Smarter Trips Tab - A redesigned Trips tab with all your must-have travel details.
  • AirCover - Top-to-bottom protection. Free for every Host. Only on Airbnb.
  • Ask a Superhost Expansion - Connects new Hosts to a Superhost in their area for 1:1 help.

...and 46 more upgrades.

“For Airbnb, 2021 has been a year of relentless innovation to refine our core service,” said Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb. “This year, we’ve delivered more than 150 upgrades and innovations. Our design-driven approach means that we’re constantly improving our service to adapt to this changing world. For the first time ever, millions of people can now travel anytime, anywhere, for any length, and even live anywhere on Airbnb. This is a travel revolution.”

Making Travel even more Flexible

Flexibility is one of the most important considerations for Thais when it comes to travel planning. Based on the YouGov polling commissioned by Airbnb, over 40% of Thais surveyed prefer the flexibility to travel whenever they want, and over a third are looking to travel during off-peak periods.*** Earlier this year, Airbnb introduced I’m Flexible, a whole new way to search when you are flexible about where or when you are travelling. Since then, guests have used I’m Flexible more than 500 million times. Due to the popularity of this feature, today Airbnb is making it even more flexible by expanding the date range you can search to 12 months out (from six).

Fast and reliable wifi is also more critical than ever before, with almost 55% of Thai respondents polled ranking wifi as one of their top three most important amenities***. This year, guests globally on Airbnb have used the wifi filter more than 288 million times. With Wifi verification, Hosts can now test their listing’s internet connection from the Airbnb app and have their wifi speed verified. This upgrade will ensure you won’t miss a Zoom or a favourite streaming show from your Airbnb.

Improved Translations across 60 Languages

Following Thailand’s recent reopening, international travellers are searching for long-term stays while Thais are again looking to travel overseas with almost a third looking to travel regionally to destinations in Asia***. Globally, Airbnb has seen cross-border travel increasing steadily through the year, from 20% of gross nights booked in the first quarter to 27% in the second and 33% in the third.**

As cross border travel returns, Airbnb’s new Translation Engine will provide a seamless experience for both Hosts and guests in over 60 languages. Translation Engine removes the need for ‘click to translate’ buttons by automatically translating listing descriptions and reviews. Based on results from a study across the top ten languages Airbnb commissioned by a top machine translation evaluation company, Translation Engine improves the quality of more than 99% of Airbnb listings. Translation Engine uses millions of Airbnb data points to improve translations, so it will get even smarter over time as it learns from new content that’s submitted.

Supporting more Accessible and Organised Travel

With Accessibility Review, Airbnb has developed an industry-leading approach to review the accuracy of features that make Airbnb homes more accessible for the disability community. Hosts simply submit photos of their accessibility features, which are then manually reviewed by a specialized team of Airbnb agents. To date, Airbnb agents have reviewed and confirmed the accuracy of 100,000 accessibility features in 25,000 homes around the world.

We’ve also redesigned the Trips tab to house all your must-have travel info in one convenient place. The smarter, more intuitive tab now features a handy countdown to your arrival, check-in details, current and upcoming reservations, and personalized Experiences suggestions.

Supporting Airbnb Hosts

More guests than ever before are choosing to stay in an Airbnb, which is leading to more people wanting to host to take advantage of this growing opportunity. To offer even more reassurance to Airbnb’s existing four million Hosts, and make it even easier for new Hosts to take that first big step, today Airbnb is introducing AirCover. Only Airbnb gives you AirCover, which provides top-to-bottom protection for every Airbnb Host with US$1 million in damage protection and US$1 million in liability coverage. AirCover also includes income loss protection, pet damage protection, deep cleaning protection, and more. AirCover is always included and always free for all new and existing Hosts.

For prospective Hosts, Airbnb is expanding its Ask a Superhost function which matches anyone interested in hosting with one of Airbnb’s most experienced Hosts for one-on-one help. Since launch, more than 60,000 prospective Hosts have used Ask a Superhost. Today, we’re expanding Ask a Superhost to over 30 languages in 196 countries, including Thailand. Prospective Hosts can now be paired with Superhosts based on their location, language, and listing. As an added benefit, Superhosts can provide tips for completing a listing page and are there for you through your first booking.

AirCover, Accessibility Review, Verified Wifi, I’m (even more) Flexible, and Ask a Superhost Expansion are all available to everyone today. Translation Engine and Smarter Trips Tab will launch before the end of this year.


*Airbnb internal data from Mar 12, 2020 to Sep 30, 2021
**Airbnb internal data as of September 30, 2021.
***Findings from a YouGov survey of APAC Travel Trends surveying 1026 Thais, commissioned by Airbnb, from October 14 to 18, 2021.

All data in this post is for Q3 2021, and all comparisons are to Q3 2019, unless otherwise specified.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theodore Koumelis

Co-Founder & Managing Director

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.