Airbnb Just Released More Than 50 New Features — Including Transparent Pricing and a Better Way to 'Experience a City Like a Local'

The home-sharing platform made significant upgrades based on user feedback, including fee transparency, map updates, and the rollout of Airbnb Rooms.

Three iPhone screens show room views on Airbnb search

Courtesy of Airbnb

Airbnb wants to remind you what made it a game-changing platform in the first place: the ability to rent a room in someone else's home anywhere in the world for an affordable price. 

Today, the home-sharing giant released more than 50 new features and upgrades based on community feedback. The goal is, of course, to improve the user experience, and the highlight of the new release is Airbnb Rooms.

"We are getting back to the idea that started it all, back to the original founding ethos of sharing," said Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, at a press event in New York City on Tuesday.

Airbnb Rooms is exactly what you'd think: a way to rent a room in someone's home. But it goes a step further, allowing travelers to instantly connect with a local host. Just like the original days of Airbnb, this, Chesky said, allows you to "experience a city like a local."

Airbnb host profile passports seen on three iPhone screens

Courtesy of Airbnb

To help travelers find the right room and local host, Airbnb is introducing Host Passports, which provide more information on hosts, including their name, a photo, and fun facts, like what they do for work and anything else they choose to share about themselves. 

Another important perk of Airbnb Rooms: they're typically cheaper than renting an entire house. More than 80 percent of private rooms available on Airbnb go for less than $100 per night.

Travelers can now filter the rooms by category, to see if, for example, a room has a private ensuite bathroom, access to shared spaces, and even if the door locks from both the inside and the outside of the room.

Airbnb also addressed other user concerns in the update, implementing features like "total price display," which allows users to view the total price of a rental with fees, including in their search results pages, on maps, and in the individual listing pages (excluding taxes). The website has also made significant changes to its maps, which is now more responsive than ever when guests zoom in and out on a destination. 

Monthly stays search now on Airbnb seen across three iPhone screens

Courtesy of Airbnb

But perhaps the best addition to the platform is the brand-new "transparent checkout instructions," which allows guests to view a host's checkout instructions before booking, so there will be no surprises once their stay is over. And during the post-stay review process, guests can specifically call out any excessive requests. If a listing has too many low ratings for unreasonable checkout instructions, the listing will be removed from Airbnb. 

Other updates worth mentioning include the new "pay over time" option, thanks to Airbnb's new partnership with Klarna, which lets guests in the U.S. and Canada pay for stays in four interest-free installments over six weeks. Airbnb has also reduced its fee structure for long-term stays and now offers an instant rebooking credit, which gives users an automatic credit on their account if a host cancels within 30 days of arrival, so travelers can rebook at another home or room immediately.

"This is the most extensive set of improvements that we have ever made," Chesky said. "Airbnb's original tagline was ‘travel like a human’ and the human part was always more important than the travel part, because the most memorable part of traveling is the other people you're with. Meeting somebody new, walking in their shoes, and seeing the city through their eyes: this is the soul of Airbnb."

Guests will start to see these new features on Airbnb later this week, while hosts already have access to the new features if they are enrolled in Airbnb Early Access. 

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