Airbnb is luxing it up. The lodging app is launching two new updates aimed at travelers who are a little more Ritz than DoubleTree, if you catch my drift. As the name suggests, Airbnb Plus will be a higher-end version of regular Airbnb. The company is also introducing Beyond by Airbnb, which unlike the name would suggest, is not a lodging service for your departed soul. Rather, Beyond by Airbnb is a travel service that offers not only luxury digs, but curated travel experiences as well.
The main selling point of Airbnb Plus is that it offers travelers a minimum level of quality, i.e. not the mouse-infested East Village studio I once stayed in. Guests will enjoy well-stocked kitchens, fast Wi-Fi, and comfortable bedding, as Mashable reports. Homes listed on Airbnb Plus must pass a real life 100-point inspection to make the cut. The prices aren’t that crazy either, with the average listing costing less than $250 a night. Airbnb Plus also comes with optimized customer support, which would have been helpful in my mouse situation.
The update is available now in 13 cities, starting with 2,000 listings. The Beyond service, however, is next level fancy. Listings include mansions and shoreside villas. Beyond comes as the natural consequence of the company’s acquisition of Luxury Retreats and is set to launch later in the year.
The updates appear to be part of an attempt to compete with the hotel industry and make the app more appealing to users seeking that kind of experience. As Director of Engineering Surabhi Gupta explains, “There are a bunch of guests that aren't considering us today, they've written us off because they think 'Airbnb doesn't have a product for me.' We do believe that we have a product for a whole spectrum of travelers, but we haven't made it easy for you as a guest to find those options."