Airbnb is once again shaking up how its customers find and book accommodations. At a press conference in San Francisco's Masonic Auditorium on Thursday, the company unveiled a slew of new reservation and website features including new property types, new rental tiers, and "Airbnb Collections" for large groups. The company also announced its commitment to reinvest within its user communities through its revamped Superhost and Superguest programs which will launch later this year.
Currently, Airbnb users can still only search for places to stay under the same three property types they've been able to over the past decade: Shared Space, Private Room and Entire Home. However, those options are a bit dated given the wide variety of places the service now offers. As such, Airbnb is updating its property listings to also include Vacation Home, Unique Space (think treehouses), B&B, and Boutique for hotels. This should allow hosts to better differentiate their offerings from others while enabling users to more easily find the kind of space they want to rent. These new categories should roll out some time this summer.
The company is also making room for more diverse traveling groups. Airbnb already works just fine if you're on your own or with a few friends, but trying to find space for, say, your company's entire marketing department or a full wedding party can be a challenge. To that end, Airbnb is launching its Collections feature today. Available through Airbnb for Family and Airbnb for Work, these accommodations will allow users to search for "social stays, weddings, honeymoons, and group getaways," according to the company's release, with an option for dinner parties coming later this year.
Airbnb is also launching two new tiers of rentals. Airbnb Plus is effectively the company's version of Twitter's verified account feature. Some 2,000 homes in 13 cities, all of which have been verified for quality based on a 100-plus point checklist, will be available on the new tier. This way, you won't be unpleasantly surprised by the living conditions once you arrive. It also benefits hosts by providing design consultations, professional photography services and top placement in search results. There's no word yet on whether these will cost significantly more than non-verified units. The other new tier is for ballers only, mind you. Beyond by Airbnb will offer luxury rentals with 'world-class hospitality" later this spring.
Finally, Airbnb has committed to reinvesting in its community. To start, the company is expanding its Superhost program with 14 new and updated benefits including greater exposure on the site, custom URLs and deals on various smart home devices. On the flip side, the company will launch a Superguest program, first as a 10,000-person pilot program in the summer, then expanding out to the full community by the end of the year. This program will offer various benefits throughout your trip.