Airbnb releases new updates to its platform

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Airbnb releases new updates to its platform

Airbnb has unveiled a slew of new features for its booking platform including a new search function, split stays and free insurance for each stay.

Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb said the way people travel has changed forever and that is why the company is introducing the biggest change to the company in more than ten years.

The company’s new search function, named Airbnb Categories helps travellers book a stay that is suited to their type of travel.

Airbnb presents customers with 56 categories that organise homes based on their style, location, or proximity to a travel activity. When a user searches for a destination, their search results are also organised by categories that are relevant to that destination. As a user views different categories, the map intelligently zooms to show you where the homes are located.

To create Airbnb Categories, the company said it evaluates millions of homes using machine learning to analyse titles, written descriptions, photo captions, structured data from Hosts, and reviews from guests. Members of Airbnb's curation team review listings and hand-pick featured photos — so if a listing is in the Amazing Pools Category, the first photo shows a pool. Then, each category goes through a final check to help ensure consistency and photo quality.

Chesky said, “First, people are more flexible about where they live and work, so we’ve designed a new way to search with Airbnb Categories. Second, people are taking longer trips, so we created Split Stays to give you more options by splitting your trip between two homes.

“And third, we’re introducing AirCover for guests, giving you the confidence to book knowing that Airbnb’s got your back.”

Split Stays allows travellers to split their trip between two homes on Airbnb. According to the company, users will typically see around 40 percent more listings when searching for longer stays.

When searching a specific destination, Split Stays automatically appear in your search results. They also appear within 14 categories — including Camping, National Parks, Skiing, and Surfing — to inspire you to stay in two destinations as part of a longer trip.

When viewing Split Stays on a map, an animated line visually connects the two homes to show you the distance between them and the sequence of the stays. Once you select a Split Stay, you’re guided through an easy-to-use interface to book each stay, one home at a time, the company said.

Airbnb has created AirCover, its first foray into insurance. When users book AirCover will always be included and free for every customer. Some of the features of AirCover include, a booking protection guarantee, check-in guarantee, a ‘get-what-you-booked’ guarantee and a 24-hour safety line.

AirCover has been designed directly into the Airbnb app and website. Airbnb said it has ceated a team of specially trained agents for last-minute rebooking assistance.  

These new features will be available in Australia and New Zealand later this week.

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