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Introducing the Airbnb 2021 Release: 100+ upgrades across our entire service for Thai Hosts and guests

Author: Theodore Koumelis / Date: Mon, 05/31/2021 - 06:03
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Thais are turning to Airbnb for affordable and convenient family-friendly travel, and using income earned through hosting to stay afloat and fight costs of living during the pandemic.

Bangkok, Thailand - Inspired by the major shift in how people are traveling within Thailand and around the world, Airbnb is introducing more than 100 upgrades to refine and improve every aspect of its service, from the platform’s website and app to community support and policies. The Airbnb 2021 Release will add features to give Thai guests even more flexibility when planning their travel and to make it simple for anyone in Thailand to become a Host.

The updates come as Airbnb data reveals that Thais are turning to Airbnb for affordable and convenient family-friendly travel, and using income earned through hosting to stay afloat and fight costs of living during the pandemic.

  • Findings from a recent YouGov survey* shows that travel with immediate family is the #1 reason for domestic travel amongst Thais, with nature retreats and quick getaways between 1-3 days likely to gain traction this year.
  • Notably, a survey** conducted by Airbnb of Thai guests and Hosts in 2020 reveals that the top two reasons why guests choose to stay with Airbnb are convenient location and affordability.
  • In the same survey, a third of Airbnb Stays Hosts said the money earned through Airbnb provided an important additional source of revenue for them. 80% of Thai Experience Hosts considered hosting an Experience to be their primary occupation, with the income made from hosting making up approximately a third of their total household income.

“We are seeing three fundamental shifts in travel as people become less tethered and more flexible,” said Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb. “People can travel anytime, they are traveling to more places and they are staying longer. We believe the lines between living, working and traveling are blurring and, with this major upgrade, we are making it easier for people to integrate travel into their lives and for new Hosts to add even more homes for guests to choose from.”  

100+ Upgrades across the Entire Airbnb Experience for Guests and Hosts

Making it Easier for Guests
With flexibility at the heart of a new, improved browsing and booking experience, Airbnb is introducing today three new ways to search on the platform - Flexible Dates, Flexible Matching and Flexible Destinations.

Flexible Dates, which Airbnb started rolling out in February, makes it easy to find the best places to stay if you are flexible on when you go. Rather than searching with fixed dates, you can search for a weekend getaway, a week-long vacation or even a month-long stay. Since launching the tool the platform has already seen over 100 million searches using it.

Flexible Matching offers a wider selection of listing results when you search for a place to stay by surfacing homes just outside of your search parameters. This way, you never miss out on a great stay that falls just outside what was specified in a search—for example, that beach villa in Phuket that costs THB3,200 per night, rather than the THB3,000 max setting in your search.

Flexible Destinations is a new way to plan trips when finding a unique place to stay is more important to you than traveling to a specific destination. It helps you discover incredible properties in places you might not have thought to search for and adapts to your location. For instance, it surfaces forest lodges in Thailand, ryokans in Japan, or castles in Spain. From treehouses to boats, on Airbnb you have over 170,000 unique homes to choose from and the number of searches for unique listings has grown 94% so far in 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.

We are also significantly improving our search capabilities to help people find their ideal place to stay, from our extensive property database. New filters will adapt to the season or location and allow people to search for homes near points of interest, such as national parks, or with very specific attributes such as whether the property has an ocean view.

Additional upgrades for guests include:

  • Faster checkout process - We’ve reduced the number of steps for new guests to confirm their first reservation.
  • Arrival guide - Easy access to all the helpful information a guest needs (directions, door codes, Wifi, etc.) before check-in.
  • Updated reviews - Guests now have a fuller spectrum, from critiques to compliments, to rate their stay.
  • Clearer Cancellations - Refreshed cancellation policies increase clarity for both guests and Hosts.

Making it Easier for Hosts
Today, Airbnb is making it even easier to become a Host with a brand new onboarding process that has been simplified from dozens of steps to just 10, supported by the latest technologies. Computer vision deep-learning models automatically suggest photo arrangement based on their guest appeal, while smart text suggestions help Hosts craft the best title and description for their listing. Streamlining and simplifying the process will help anyone who wants to host and take advantage of the coming travel surge onboard quickly to get their first booking. In fact, in Q1 2021, for new listings that were activated and booked, 50% received a reservation request within four days of activation. In fact in Thailand, over a third (38%) of local Hosts actively reinvested their earnings from hosting to spruce up and improve their homes, as they look forward to hosting more domestic guests in the long term***.
Additional upgrades for Hosts include:

  • All-new Today tab - A new centralized home base to make it easier for Hosts to manage bookings and daily tasks. Here they will see new booking requests, upcoming reservations as well as details of current guests and quick links to the most used Host tools.
  • New welcome to hosting page - A redesigned hub for new Hosts with helpful articles and testimonials as well as an improved tool to estimate potential earnings from hosting based on nightly rates and occupancy in their immediate area.
  • Inbox improvements - Messages now load up to 10 times faster and new features include Personalized Quick Replies which let Hosts reply with one tap to guests’ often-asked questions, and Scheduled Messages which automates sending reminders, like checkout instructions.
  • Dedicated Superhost support - A dedicated support team for Superhosts and Host Community Leaders giving our most experienced Hosts priority access to our most experienced support agents.

World-Class Service
We are also improving our community support by doubling the number of support agents and expanding our support coverage from 11 to 42 languages. A completely redesigned Help Center will be easier to navigate by offering more personalized support to Hosts and guests.

The Blurring of Traveling and Living
Many of these upgrades were inspired by a comprehensive analysis of Airbnb booking data and consumer research which reveals the extent to which the pandemic has fundamentally changed travel. With 4 million Hosts across more than 220 countries and regions and more than 900 million guest arrivals, Airbnb is in a unique position to see how travel is changing. The analysis reveals three key trends:

  1. In part due to remote work trends, people are less tethered and more flexible on when they can travel. Since the start of this year, Airbnb has seen more than 200 million date-flexible searches, 100 million of which used our new Flexible Dates tool.
  2. Travel is being distributed to a much wider range of destinations. In the 12 months ending April 30 2021, Airbnb had bookings in 94,000 cities.
  3. People are staying longer on trips. The share of stays 28 days or longer on Airbnb has increased from 14% of nights booked in 2019 to 24% in Q1 2021***.

Airbnb was born in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, and has since grown to 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 900 million guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Every day, Hosts offer one-of-a-kind stays and unique Experiences that make it possible for guests to experience the world in a more authentic, connected way.

 

*Survey conducted by YouGov between 28 April - 18 May 2021 with a sample size of more than 1000.
**Survey from Feb 1, 2021 to Mar 3, 2021 for Homes Hosts who hosted a trip during 2020, or Homes guests who took a trip during 2020.
***Nights booked before cancellation and alterations.

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.