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Airbnb goes instant: book stays for tonight or tomorrow, starting today

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It's been a long 24 hours. First, that assassin woke you up with attempted murder. Then, after plunging to the Paris streets, you narrowly avoided death while leading your assailant on a high-speed chase through the backstreets of the 6th arrondissement. Thankfully, you managed to make that flight to Los Angeles from Charles de Gaulle. But oh no! Zut alors! You don't have somewhere to stay in LA! What's a raconteur to do? Airbnb may be your new solution. The company known for facilitating stays in individually owned properties (rather than, say, a hotel) is expanding into the immediacy market, today adding the book it tonight/tomorrow function to Los Angeles and San Francisco. Of course, that's just the beginning, with more cities to come in the coming months. Perhaps Paris?

Gallery: Airbnb (This Weekend) | 6 Photos

Airbnb's mobile app is the main use case for the new service, with bookings for tonight/tomorrow showing up under the Discover area and in search results. Why San Francisco and Los Angeles? Well, SF because that's where Airbnb is based (surprise!), and LA because it's a major market. That the company's seen a lot of demand for such a service there also doesn't hurt.

Of course, with instant access to Airbnb vacancies, the elephant in the room is illegal activity: drug trafficking, prostitution, etc. The obvious stuff people will do because human beings are human beings. Fear not! Airbnb uses a form of two-factor authentication to verify both sellers and buyers; in so many words, Airbnb is being extra careful about these listings and the folks using them. It's another reason for the limited rollout, in fact.

The company's also experimenting with a new discoverability option, offering packages called "This Weekend." Say you've got a free weekend and some extra dough. Need some ideas? "This Weekend" is your jam. The perfect option for lucky folks with the perfect blend of too much money and time on your hands. Hey, can we borrow some of that stuff?

In this article: airbnb, mobilepostcross
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