Airbnb is hoping to get more of its hosts and guests on mobile, as it has launched a “reimagination” of its iOS and Android apps. Today at an event in Airbnb's new San Francisco office space, the company announced the new versions, which include an improved host dashboard, a more immersive design, and host groups, to help hosts connect with one another.
At the event, Airbnb underlined the company's grand vision for connecting guests and hosts. "What if you could get paid to bring people to your living room?" Chesky said. "What if you could book someone's home the way you could book a hotel anywhere around the world?”
With its new mobile apps, Airbnb is hoping to better empower its hosts to manage their listings. For Airbnb, today's mobile launch represents the next iteration of its product roadmap, as the company seeks to provide better tools for connecting guests who need short-term lodging with hosts who have a room or apartment to spare. That's something that the company has been increasingly striving toward, with a number of new product launches over the years.
On the host side, the mobile app underlines new hospitality standards that it's trying to put forward, thanks to new head of hospitality Chip Conley. It'll provide a stronger dashboard designed to help hosts respond to incoming messages, accept bookings, manage upcoming guests, update their calendar, and request photography directly from within the app.
That starts with Host Home, a new flow for adding your listing to the Airbnb platform directly through the mobile app. That includes the ability to request Airbnb's free professional photography just from the smartphone. Hosts are also immediately directed to the host forum, quickly connecting the thousands of new hosts with others who already know what they're doing.
There's also a revised way to respond to inquiries, putting all communications, information about guests, and the ability to check one's calendar all on a single screen.
For guests, the app was revised to help users more easily discover listings that they'd like to stay at. That includes an improved “Discover” tab, which showcases more of Airbnb's most compelling properties. It also streamlines the way that users can communicate wiht hosts and book listings.
Airbnb has been trying to improve its products and add new features to improve its platform. About this time last year, Airbnb launched Neighborhoods, which broke out more of the interesting places and venues that guests could learn about before they chose where to stay. That helped blend the online and offline worlds of travel for Airbnb guests, who not only had details about its rentals but also the nearby things they could do when they got there.
Airbnb has also been working on trust and safety features, especially with the launch of Verified Identification. With that initiative, Airbnb began requiring some hosts and guests to verify their identities by scanning a photo ID or passport with their mobile phones or by answering the same type of historical information you'd expect with a credit check.
This blending of the online and offline worlds helps Airbnb become not just a peer-to-peer platform, but also an integral part of the experience when travelers arrive. Making booking, communicating, and managing properties easier will make that a lot easier for Airbnb users.