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Airbnb updates platform, expands search function

Airbnb, a home sharing service, rolled out a search function that allows guests to look for places to stay based on their style, location, and proximity to a travel activity, instead of just the destination city.

Announced May 12, Airbnb Categories organizes listings in 56 categories, giving users the option to look for A-frames and castles through the “style” theme; homes on a lake, or near a national park through the “location” theme; or homes near spots for surfing, camping, or skiing through the “activity” theme.

Airbnb’s feature update — “the biggest in a decade,” it said — also includes a one trip, two stays option (Split Stays); and additional travel protection (AirCover). 

“The way people travel has changed forever. That’s why we’re introducing the biggest change to Airbnb in a decade,” said Brian Chesky, chief executive officer and co-founder of Airbnb, in a statement. 

He added that these changes reflect the longer trips people are now taking, as well as their willingness to be more flexible about where they live and work. 

Despite global deterrents such as the Omicron coronavirus variant and inflation, Airbnb’s “nights and experiences” in the first quarter of 2022 exceeded 100 million for the first time, said Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb general manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, in an e-mail. (“Nights and experiences” is a metric that measures nights and the number of seats for experiences booked on the platform.)

“This demonstrates strong global demand for travel and the incredible resilience of our business — which enables us to offer the most comprehensive protection in the travel industry, included free in every stay,” said Mr. Bajaj. 

LONGER TRIPS

Given that half of the nights booked on Airbnb in the last three months were for trips that lasted a week or more, the home sharing service also introduced Split Stays, which allows guests to divide their time between two different homes.  

“The function will take into account the trip’s start and end dates, the distance between listings, and any filters added,” Mr. Bajaj said. The proximity of the homes will depend on the guest’s initial search: a search within a town may yield listings from different neighborhoods, while a search for an entire island may yield listings that are further apart.  

Meanwhile, AirCover is free travel protection that encompasses booking protection guarantee (in which guests get a similar or better home in the event a host cancels a booking); check-in guarantee (in which guests get a similar or better home in the event they can’t check into a booked home); get-what-you-booked guarantee (in which guests get a similar or better home if a booked home isn’t as advertised); and a 24-hour safety line (in which guests get access to trained safety agents in case they feel unsafe). 

“We’re … giving you the confidence to book knowing that Airbnb’s got your back,” said Mr. Chesky. — Patricia B. Mirasol

 

SIDEBAR | Amazing views and spacious stays 

Based on a wishlist of crowdsourced from both locals and international travelers, Airbnb is anticipating “great interest” in local Airbnb Stays categorized under: Amazing Views, Bed and Breakfasts, Farms, Off-the-Grid, Islands, Lakefronts, and Treehouses.  

Among Filipinos, “there is a strong interest in spacious stays that can accommodate large families or groups,” according to Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb general manager for Southeast Asia, India, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. 

The top summer destinations in the Philippines, ranked by Airbnb searches in the first quarter of 2022 by Philippine guests are:

Angeles, Central Luzon 
Subic, Central Luzon 
Mabalacat, Central Luzon  
Antipolo, Calabarzon  
Calatagan, Calabarzon  
Cagayan De Oro City, Northern Mindanao  
Panglao, Central Visayas  
San Juan, Calabarzon 
Bacolod, Western Visayas  
Silang, Calabarzon

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