NEW YORK — Aiming to better compete with hotels, Airbnb unveiled a new category called Guest Favorites, which highlights the platform’s top-rated rental listings.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky provided details about Guest Favorites during a media event here on Tuesday, telling reporters that the top reason travelers choose a hotel over an Airbnb accommodation is because “you know exactly what you’re going to get with a hotel.”
“New guests don’t know the difference between a bad listing on Airbnb or a really good one. It can be hard to know what you’re going to get,” said Chesky. “It turns out, though, that we actually know the good Airbnbs because since we started Airbnb, guests have left 371 million reviews.”
Airbnb has used the reviews to compile “a collection of the most loved homes on Airbnb.” These listings receive a Guest Favorites badge, which certifies that an accommodation has an exceptionally high rating, positive reviews and overall reliability. Travelers can also opt to search only for Guest Favorite listings.
According to Chesky, a typical Guest Favorite listing has an average rating of 4.92 out of 5 and a minimum of five reviews. The listing’s host must have a cancellation rate under 1% and an incident rate under 1%.
The Guest Favorites collection is making its debut with 2 million listings globally.
“To put that in perspective, Hilton Hotels, one of the largest chains in the world, has about 1.1 million rooms worldwide,” said Chesky. “So, we have nearly twice as many Guest Favorites as Hilton Hotels has rooms around the world.”
During a Q&A session, Chesky asserted that Airbnb retains its competitive advantage over hotels when it comes to affordability. He said that for the month of September, Airbnb pricing worldwide was up about 1% from a year earlier while global pricing, according to data from CoStar, has risen roughly 10%.
Updated listings tab and smart lock-app integration
Concurrent with the rollout of Guest Favorites, Airbnb has enhanced its ratings and reviews page. For example, reviews can now include more specific information, including a reviewer’s length of stay or details on who they traveled with. The info can be sorted by recentness or rating.
The platform has also revamped its listings tab, making it easier for hosts to create more informative and better organized listings. Airbnb’s updated listings tab promises to be more intuitive when it comes to adding amenities and other details to a listing and also leverages AI to automatically organize a listing’s photos by room.
In addition, Airbnb has launched a capability that enables hosts to integrate the Airbnb app with an accommodation’s smart lock. Chesky said that an estimated 40% of Airbnb hosts in the U.S. use smart locks, which can generally be unlocked via an electronic keypad.
The app’s smart lock integration allows hosts to link a smart lock to their Airbnb account, with the app then able to generate a custom generated code for each stay.
The integration will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and compatible with Schlage, Yale and August smart locks, with additional lock brands to follow.
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