It’s no secret that travellers' behaviour has changed significantly as a result of the pandemic. With a big move to remote working, many people now have much more flexibility in their lives. A result of this is that travellers are looking for different types of trips, including longer stays and also different locations too. The travel industry is picking up on this and in one of the first significant changes from a market leader, Airbnb has recently announced 3 major changes to its platform to reflect how the world of travel is changing. Here's what these changes mean and why it matters.
1. Experience is at the forefront with new search criteria
Travellers can now search by the type of experience they want. This change means that people can now browse by categories such as beach, camping, castles, vineyards and their unique OMG! category for those one-of-a-kind properties.
After years of not being able to travel freely, people are craving new experiences and once-in-a-lifetime trips—they want to make new memories. With increased flexibility and a desire for unique experiences, travel is not just about going to the same locations anymore.
2. Split Stays are bringing more choice and flexibility
When searching for longer stays, travellers will have the option to split their trip between two different homes in the area or the category they are browsing.
Long-term stays (28+ days) are increasingly popular and have been the fastest-growing trip category for many travel brands. More people now have the flexibility to travel for longer, without being tied to one location. If you've ever tried to book a long stay on Airbnb before, you know how frustrating it can be trying to find availability. They estimate people will see an average of 40% more listings when searching with this, meaning reduced friction for bookers and increased revenue for Airbnb.
3. Risk is reduced and confidence is boosted with increased traveller protection
Airbnb has announced 4 new always-free and included protections for every traveller on every stay including, finding a similar or better property if they're cancelled on or if the listing isn't what it says it is, and also a 24-hour safety line that guests can use if they feel unsafe.
Many people still feel anxious about travel. Offering increased protection can help to reduce the perceived risk of getting out there and booking trips again. Building traveller confidence again is key.
What does this mean for the hotel industry?
The way people are travelling this summer will look very different. These changes from Airbnb mark an exciting time for travellers and the rest of the travel industry will need to adjust so it doesn't get left behind. When it all boils down, it’s important to start thinking about how you can make small changes to your offering with these three principles in mind: guest experience, choice and flexibility and reducing the perceived risk.