Airbnb CEO announces 50+ upgrade and innovations

Living and working remotely will transcend the pandemic according to Airbnb, as guests this year spend more on longer stays than at any point in the platform’s history*.

The pandemic untethered millions of people from the need to work in specific places at specific times. And despite life seemingly returning to normal, with offices reopening around the world, the ways guests are using Airbnb as we emerge from the pandemic has shifted; 20 percent of nights booked from July to September on Airbnb are of one month or longer – with guests spending more on longer stays than any point in Airbnb history – and long-term stays have become the platform’s fastest-growing trip length based on bookings for 2022 as of September 30, 2021. To support this trend, Airbnb’s new I’m (even more) Flexible feature is expanding its date range so travellers can now search for stays up to 12 months out (from six) with four new categories of unique stays to choose from: off the grid, Ski-in/ski-out, luxe and offbeat homes. 

This news follows some of the largest companies in the world, including Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Company, PwC, and Amazon, announcing increased flexibility for employees to work remotely. And Airbnb expects more companies to follow their lead. In fact, a consumer survey commissioned by Airbnb across South Africa found that 90% of respondents stated the importance of flexibility when booking travel post-pandemic, and one third said they would consider living somewhere different from where their company is located and travelling occasionally to their company’s office. 

According to the survey, South Africans are anticipating a travel revolution. Almost half of the respondents believe post-pandemic travel will be back, bigger than ever – just not like before; while 42% believe there will be a ‘profound shift’ in how people move all around the world.      

In keeping with the shift toward remote work, fast and reliable wifi is more critical than ever before. This year guests on Airbnb have used the wifi filter more than 288 million times and in response, Airbnb today announced Verified Wifi, allowing Hosts to test their listing’s internet connection from the Airbnb app and have their wifi speed verified. With this upgrade, guests can be confident that they won’t miss a Zoom or be unable to binge-watch a series from their listing. 

It’s not just wifi that guests are looking for. In the past year, more than 100,000 guests have stayed continuously on Airbnb for at least three months and they’re looking for day-to-day amenities to facilitate this lifestyle. Globally the top searched-for amenities for long-term stay bookers in recent months were wifi, pets-allowed, kitchens and washer/dryers. In fact long-term stay searches for listings with wifi and pets-allowed have increased by 270 percent – reaffirming that people are increasingly planning to live on Airbnb. And today, Airbnb has announced AirCover, top-to-bottom protection for every Host on Airbnb that also includes pet damage protection.  

Airbnb offers a platform where guests connect to people and places in more than 220 countries and regions around the world. And as we’ve seen some country restrictions being eased, cross border travel has increased. In October 2021, cross border travel gross nights booked reached more than 80 percent of the level from October 2019. And the reopening of borders, such as the reopening of US borders to fully vaccinated foreign travellers on 8 November, are important moments that support the new way of living and working in a post pandemic world.