Airbnb to launch premium service to compete with hotels

George Sell By George Sell
23 June 2017 | Updated 23 June 2017

US: Airbnb is reportedly close to launching a service that will match guests with quality-inspected home and apartment rentals.

The product is intended to attract higher-paying travellers who have yet to use Airbnb because they prefer the amenities and guaranteed service provided by hotels.

The service, expected to launch as a pilot with a select group of hosts as soon as this week, will send Airbnb inspectors into hosts' homes to ensure they meet a checklist of quality standards designated by the company, according to a report on Bloomberg.com.

If the criteria are met, the homes will be listed on a dedicated premium section of Airbnb's website and mobile app.

The move marks the first time premium Airbnb listings will be packaged into a distinct product with official inspections and incentives for participants. The service is reportedly internally referred to as "Select" but an official name has not yet been decided.

Editor's Comment

Airbnb’s latest venture is a significant - and potentially worrying - one for the boutique hotel sector. It’s aimed at older and wealthier travellers who are perhaps intrigued by Airbnb but have not plucked up the courage to actually book through the site.

Airbnb will ensure that all the properties which are listed in the new section will be very high quality, having been inspected in person by Airbnb staff. The company will be determined that this new target market has a great experience and then become repeat guests.

Hosts who participate in the new service get access to a professional photographer to shoot images of their home, along with other free perks including a consultation with an Airbnb-provided interior decorator.

The initiative is yet another reason to ensure that your hotel guests receive the very best service possible, and could also be a significant inventive for more hotels to actually use Airbnb as a distribution platform.

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