Airbnb launches a bunch of new features based on user feedback

Know what is expected when you check out, confirmation of a private rental, and much more finally come to Airbnb in better transparancy

Airbnb hears you and is launching a bunch of new features to improve the experience from the beginning of your search all the way to checkout. On Wednesday, the rental platform announced a new way of booking private rooms as well as transparent pricing and checkout instructions, immediate customer service support for issues during your stay, and more.

Airbnb is dedicated to enhancing your search experience from start to finish, and they have introduced several exciting new features to achieve just that. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended stay, the platform now offers a more transparent and informative approach to help you make the right choice. One of the latest additions is the reimagined “Rooms” category, specifically tailored for travelers seeking private room accommodations. Understanding the significance of knowing what to expect when booking such stays, Airbnb has introduced the exclusive “Host Passport” and privacy features. This expanded profile provides in-depth information about hosts, including photos and fun facts, empowering guests to make well-informed decisions before booking a holiday. Additionally, privacy features indicate essential aspects such as whether the room has a lock, the nature of shared or private bathrooms, and the presence of other individuals in the home during your stay. With these enhancements, Airbnb ensures you have a clear picture of what awaits you in a private room, ensuring a more enjoyable experience overall.

Many of the new features seem to address common frustrations with the platform, such as complaints about hidden fees and slow customer service. Others are designed to give guests more details about listings and hosts. Here are the highlights from the announcement.

Airbnb will finally show you the *actual* total price in search

Airbnb Rooms

“Rooms” is a reimagined private room category. Booking a private room is a popular, cheap(ish) option for travelers. But staying in a room inside someone’s home as opposed to renting out the whole thing can be a crapshoot. The platform alreadyhas multiple search categories including private rooms, but unless the host has provided a detailed description about themselves and the nature of the room, guests might not know what they’re getting into.

Now, dedicated elements — “Host Passport” and privacy features — tell you up front what to expect during your stay. Host Passport, which is exclusive to the Rooms category, is an expanded profile with photos and fun facts shared by hosts. Whether it’s in the interest of getting to know them better, or avoiding them at all costs, now guests can be a little bit more informed.

In the new Rooms category, you can tap/click the passport icon in the corner of the image to learn more about hosts.Speaking of personal space, Airbnb has expanded privacy features to clearly show whether the room has a lock, whether bathrooms are shared or private, and if there are other people in the home during your stay (such as a host’s roommate, spouse, or other Airbnb guests).

Now you know up front what you’re getting with a private room.

Transparent bottom line

Ever find a reasonably-priced listing only to check out and see the price has jumped by a few hundred dollars because of fees? Airbnb finally addressed this last November by testing a feature that showed the total cost of the stay (without tax), and now that feature is live for all users. Guests can toggle “Display total price” when searching for listings, which shows the price with fees in search results, price filter, maps, and listing pages.

No more hidden cleaning fees.Don’t worry, this also includes the dreaded cleaning fee, which was typically the biggest “gotcha” factor at checkout. The feature divides the cost of the fee across the number of nights you’re staying for.

Clear checkout instructions

Another frustration was the discrepancy between hosts and guests when it came to reasonable instructions for checking out. Hosts were annoyed to discover guests had left their property in what they considered shambles. Guests thought it was ridiculous to clean the Airbnb when they were already paying a cleaning fee.

With clear checkout instructions, you and your host are on same page.

Now hosts can leave clear checkout instructions on the listing page, like mentioning that they want guests to take out the trash and put dirty linens in the hamper, so guests can see them before booking. Guests will also receive a notification with checkout instructions toward the end of their stay. If guests think the requests are excessive, they can say so in the review, and listings with consistent low ratings from “unreasonable chores” will be taken down.

Dedicated customer service for live bookings

Airbnb has the unfortunate reputation of having terrible customer service. On the Better Business Bureau(opens in a new tab), the company has an average of one star out of almost 1,000 reviews. Many of the complaints refer to slow or inadequate responses. It can, after all, be infuriating to have to resolve an issue about a booking, while at the booking, when you should be enjoying yourself.

Today, Airbnb announced a dedicated 24/7 support team specifically for guests during their stay, aka, those guests with live bookings. Airbnb says it aims to answer these requests in two minutes or less. For the record, Airbnb already has an urgent support line with trained specialists for emergencies(opens in a new tab). But if you need prompt help for a non-dangerous situation, hold off on that angry tweet, because now you have a better option.

Other features Airbnb announced today include improved map search, easier ways to build to your wishlist, and reduced fees for stays over three months. Airbnb has also partnered with Klarna for paying for your booking in installments.

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Stevie Flavio
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