It’s a familiar scene: You walk up to your Airbnb, fingers crossed that it’ll look as good as it did in the photos. Unlock the doors and you’ll either sigh in relief or be met with disappointment.
Airbnb is hoping to reduce that anticipation (and subsequent social media ire) with its latest round of product releases, announced Wednesday morning. The homes-sharing company has a new “guest favourites” section that collects the most loved stays, redesigned its ratings page, and has made listings easier for hosts to manage.
“People often describe checking into an Airbnb as a ‘moment of truth’— when you find out if the home you booked meets your expectations,” CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement. “Too often, it doesn’t. We’re changing that today.”
Guest favorite homes are often rated at nearly five stars and have high marks across the board in a number of categories. Things like ease of check in, cleanliness, listing accuracy, communication, location, value, and customer service should be a given with these spots, the company says. Guest favorites is launching with two million stand-out listings.
“Even if you know where you want to go and what kind of listing you want, it’s still that list of listings can get a little overwhelming,” Tara Bunch, Airbnb’s global head of operations, tells Fast Company. “So, we feel like by adding this category, it’s going to give guests a sense of security . . . this gives them that reassurance.”
Airbnb is also working to utilize the more than 371 million reviews that have been left on listings. A guest with a dog may be looking for different user reviews than someone who is traveling solo. With its new ratings page, Airbnb consumers can now sort reviews by recency or rating along with a new chart that shows the distribution of reviews from one to five stars. Airbnb will also start showing more information about the reviewer and trip, including their length of stay, whether they traveled with others or pets, and where they’re from.
“If you’ve been a guest on Airbnb for a while, you’ve figured out how to navigate the site to find the reviews that are important to you,” Bunch says. “Reviews are so essential to ensuring that your expectations for the property are correct, and that you have all the information you need about past stays to sort of gauge on whether this can be the right place for you.”
Airbnb is also rolling out a handful of new features for hosts, including tools to make it easier to add amenities, create an AI-powered photo tour, pricing visibility, smart lock integrations, and co-host features to make it easier to jointly manage a spot.
All of the updates come after Airbnb warned investors that it was seeing greater volatility in the current quarter, and that current macroeconomic trends and geopolitical conflicts could impact travel demand. The company provided weaker-than-expected guidance for the fourth quarter.
“We’ve seen significant growth in private room bookings,” Bunch says. “And these price comparison tools that we’re doing, increasingly we’ve seen hosts lower prices in most markets in response to the economic headwinds that we’re seeing and the fact that people want to spend less.”