Many of the new features seem to address common frustrations with the platform, such as complaints about hidden fees and slow customer service. Others are designed to give guests more details about listings and hosts. Here are the highlights from the announcement.
“Rooms” is a reimagined private room category. Booking a private room is a popular, cheap(ish) option for travelers. But staying in a room inside someone’s home as opposed to renting out the whole thing can be a crapshoot. The platform already has a search category for private rooms, but unless the host has provided a detailed description about themselves and the nature of the room, guests might not know what they’re getting into.
Now, dedicated elements — “Host Passport” and privacy features — tell you up front what to expect during your stay. Host Passport, which is exclusive to the Rooms category, is an expanded profile with photos and fun facts shared by hosts. Whether it’s in the interest of getting to know them better, or avoiding them at all costs, now guests can be a little bit more informed.
Speaking of personal space, Airbnb has expanded privacy features to clearly show whether the room has a lock, whether bathrooms are shared or private, and if there are other people in the home during your stay (such as a host’s roommate, spouse, or other Airbnb guests).
Transparent bottom line
Ever find a reasonably-priced listing only to check out and see the price has jumped by a few hundred dollars because of fees?
Don’t worry, this also includes the dreaded cleaning fee, which was typically the biggest “gotcha” factor at checkout. The feature divides the cost of the fee across the number of nights you’re staying for.
Clear checkout instructions
Another frustration was the discrepancy between hosts and guests when it came to reasonable instructions for checking out. Hosts were annoyed to discover guests had left their property in what they considered shambles. Guests thought it was ridiculous to clean the Airbnb when they were already paying a cleaning fee.
Now hosts can leave clear checkout instructions on the listing page, like mentioning that they want guests to take out the trash and put dirty linens in the hamper, so guests can see them before booking. Guests will also receive a notification with checkout instructions toward the end of their stay. If guests think the requests are excessive, they can say so in the review, and listings with consistent low ratings from “unreasonable chores” will be taken down.
Dedicated customer service for live bookings
Airbnb has the unfortunate reputation of having terrible customer service. On the
Today, Airbnb announced a dedicated 24/7 support team specifically for guests during their stay, aka, those guests with live bookings. Airbnb says it aims to answer these requests in two minutes or less. For the record,
Other features Airbnb announced today include improved map search, easier ways to build to your wishlist, and reduced fees for stays over three months. Airbnb has also partnered with Klarna for paying for your booking in installments.