Airbnb wants to take tourists to places they never knew

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Airbnb is updating its website in an effort to attract tourists to places where it has more places to stay as it seeks to ensure deferred demand during this season’s peak season is not constrained by supply problems.

If the search on Airbnb was first narrowed down by location and then by date, a redesign announced Wednesday will introduce 56 different categories. Tabs will filter about 4 million lists by features such as “surfing”, “skiing” and “camping”, as well as by features such as “hoods”, “farms” and “castles”.

In addition to hosts that enter information, computer vision technology is used to automatically populate lists with certain features that are visible in images, such as a “piano”.

The company said the update represents “the biggest change in Airbnb in ten years.”

“For 25 years you’ve been looking for online travel the same way,” CEO Brian Cesky told reporters in New York this week. “There’s a big search box and [it asks] you have a question: ‘where are you going?’

“We could show you places you would never have thought to look for.”

Since its release in December 2020, the supply of available and desirable locations has been marked as the biggest potential obstacle to Airbnb’s hopes for a huge surge in tourism due to delayed demand when the coronavirus pandemic recedes.

According to company documents, active listings on the platform have increased by about 7 percent since the company’s S-1 submission prior to the placement. According to an independent analyst at AirDNA, only nine of the top 20 cities for Airbnb in Europe have more affordable lists than in 2019.

Supply in non-urban areas was stronger, initially taking advantage of the desire for social distancing and then changing attitudes towards remote work. In the first quarter of this year, lists in non-urban areas increased by 15 percent year-over-year worldwide and by 21 percent in North America.

The new features will also show people to lesser-known cities, Cesky said: “We are in 10,000 cities and most people can’t think of so many cities.”

“And I think there are many reasons why travel is so concentrated. I think it’s because people go to Netflix and see Emily in Paris. . . everyone goes to Paris, and most people can’t name small towns in France. “

Cesky said the redesign will be based on the “I’m flexible” feature introduced in May 2021, where customers will be able to see a wider range of options if they don’t mean exact dates. Airbnb said more than 2 billion searches had been made using the feature.

The update will add location settings, such as determining the desire to stay in a U.S. national park, without any benefit. He also plays his proposals in unusual places, such as the Arctic Circle, where 6,500 places are on the list.

Much of the company’s revenue growth during the pandemic was due to people seeking to book a longer stay to work remotely. Long-term stays of 28 days or more accounted for 21 percent of all Airbnb bookings in the first quarter versus 13 percent for the same period in 2019.

Take a look at the new Airbnb search feature © Airbnb

The redesign adds additional possibilities for this, including “Shared Stay” when the Airbnb algorithm offers two seats that can be booked in tandem if no host can accommodate the entire stay.

“It doubles the number of search options if you stay more than a week,” Cesky said.

Airbnb shares have fallen 33% since the beginning of the year amid a wider sell-off of technology stocks. However, the company recently told investors it intends to publish a peak season: 30 percent more nights are booked this summer – as of late April – than at the same time in 2019.

He predicts that revenues will increase this quarter by more than 50 percent year on year, although the Asia-Pacific region is still depressed.

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