Airbnb is preparing to make significant changes to its booking system. This spring, the home and apartment sharing service will launch its new top-tier options: “Airbnb Plus” and “Beyond by Airbnb.” Airbnb Plus is a brand of accommodations that are guaranteed to meet 100 different criteria and come with certain amenities.
Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb
According to TechCrunch, the new Airbnb Plus tier has homes that are verified for “quality and comfort.” Launching with nearly 2,000 homes to start the service, these luxury tiers are advertised as a selection of high quality, well-equipped homes listed by hosts with great reviews and attention to detail. One example of an Airbnb Plus listing is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home near downtown Washington, D.C. that comes equipped with a gym as well as rooftop made available for functions; it has a nightly rate of $279. The new luxury tiers are built around whole trips including hospitality, custom experience and – of course – higher-end homes. The new service targets consumers looking to tap into a similar experience they would get from a luxury resort – but for lower prices.
A Giant Leap Forward
These pricing tiers show thatAirbnb is attempting to compete more with more traditional luxury hotels and resorts. Although the company has had 300 million overnight stays since it started in 2008 with a website to book overnight stays on airbeds, the company’s CEO Brian Chesky said it’s still not mainstream enough. That is exactly what he is looking to change. During an event in San Francisco late last month, Chesky told the crowd that although a lot has changed in the last ten years for the company, “Airbnb is still an alternative, but it’s still not for everyone…Today we will show you our roadmap: Airbnb [is] for everyone.” The executive also revealed that Airbnb wants to have more than 1 billion people staying in its rental spaces by 2028. Since 2008, the home sharing service has gone from a website geared towards couch surfers to have a massive online presence. According to their website, Airbnb lists over 4 million homes for rent across nearly 200 countries.
With its lofty goal of reaching 1 billion people by 2028, Airbnb is on course to revolutionize the lodging market by keeping hotel rates in check. The company also makes additional rooms available in the country’s hottest travel spots during peak periods when hotel rooms often sell out and rates skyrocket. According to a National Bureau of Economic Research paper on the economic effects of Airbnb, written by Harvard professor Chiara Farronato, for the ten cities with the largest Airbnb market share in the U.S., the entry of Airbnb resulted in 1.3 percent fewer hotel nights booked and a 1.5 percent loss in hotel revenue. This shows that the competition between traditional hotels and Airbnb is intensifying.
This fairly new concept, widely known as the peer-to-peer marketplace or the “sharing economy,” has gained traction in the last decade. Participants are motivated by the idea of profiting with little to no intervention of traditional intermediaries. Unlike traditional businesses, the concept of the sharing economy is a two-way street wherein users at both ends can benefit either as consumers, suppliers, or both. Many people have started to participate in share economy platforms like Airbnb because of the economic and financial benefits it provides for everyone involved.