Airbnb travelers tell us all the time how much they love adventure, meeting hosts, and having a personal experience. We’ve seen more and more travelers seeking spontaneity and the ability to book a trip for tonight or tomorrow. Some travelers want to be able to take that last minute weekend getaway and some suffer from last-minute-itus, which can affect the best of us.
We want to make it easier to book an experience anytime, anywhere. Starting today, we’re rolling out a new service in San Francisco and Los Angeles (and more cities coming soon), to help people find and book places immediately. Whether or not travelers book last minute, they will still have the same Airbnb experience of living like a local.
Many guests on Airbnb reach for their mobile phone when they want to book a trip, especially last minute. Now, when people open the Airbnb mobile app, we highlight listings that are instantly available last minute within the Search page and the Discover feed—just click on the area that says “Need a place for tonight or tomorrow?” Every listing that is shown in the service will be instantly available and bookable. If there are no more instantly bookable listings available in the area, we’ll let people know the area is sold out. This service is meant for every price-point—there may be luxury and high-end properties available as well as private rooms. No matter what a travelers price point, this new service will still provide people with the authentic stay they usually get on Airbnb.
We’re also adding an element of spontaneous inspiration into the mix for travelers who may enjoy an impromptu getaway. We just started experimenting with an additional feature dubbed “Weekend Getaways” that showcases convenient trips, which can be found in the app under the moniker “This Weekend.” With this addition to the app we take what people love best about Airbnb, a uniquely local experience, and put it at your fingertips. This feature focuses on discovery and inspiration rather than instant bookability. In the new feature, the Airbnb app will feature great listings that are just a hop, skip and a jump away from San Francisco to nearby destinations including Wine Country, Lake Tahoe, or destinations that are a short flight away, like Portland or Los Angeles. We hope these inspirational destinations help people discover new adventures near them—if they do, we’ll add more escapes to the list.
Part of what makes the last minute booking service possible is a renewed focus on listings that are instantly bookable. With listings that are instantly bookable, hosts can set up their listing to automatically approve guests based on certain parameters. That means from the first interaction with a host, guests can book immediately without waiting through the pre-approval process. Since the beginning of this year hosts have more than doubled their instant bookable listings from 35,000 at the end of 2013 to over 90,000 today. While being instantly bookable isn’t a fit for every host, it presents a great opportunity for hosts who don’t mind last minute guests.
Here are a few of the things hosts have told us about their instant bookable experiences:
• “Instant book enhances the guest and host experience—guests can benefit from a quick, on-the-go solution for an immediate necessity to find a good place to spend the night, and hosts can benefit from instant income [instead of letting] the room remain empty.” – Niki Wise
• “Sometimes last minute changes of plans require instant booking. I think it’s a good option for guests.” – Ryan Ray
We want to continue to create incredible experiences for people and we believe services like last minute booking and weekend getaways are just the start. Making great matches between hosts and guests is the key to a meaningful trip on Airbnb, and we’re just scratching the surface of what we can do. We plan to build on these initiatives (and refine the design as we learn more) to continue to make it easier to find the perfect Airbnb host for each individual’s travels.