Now that it's relatively safe to travel again, Airbnb is unveiling an overhauled experience that includes some much-needed features for frequent travellers. To start, the reworked app now lets you search for categories tied to the home style, location or activity. You can look for places close to national parks, or even book a treehouse. Airbnb is clearly hoping you'll book stays beyond the usual tourist hotspots.
The biggest addition, however, might be Split Stays. As the name implies, this lets you split a trip between two homes without having to separately book each location. You can split between categories or destinations, too. This promises to be helpful for long trips, or any travel where you won't stay in one place.
And while Airbnb no longer offers refunds if you get COVID-19, it is providing some extra protections to encourage travel. A new AirCover program will either relocate you or provide a refund if the host needs to cancel (within 30 days), if you can't check in or if the home doesn't match the advertised claims. The 24-hour safety phone line has also expanded support to 16 languages, and AirCover is built directly into both the app and Airbnb's website.
The reworked experience is available in the US today, and should spread worldwide this week. Airbnb may be stretching when it claims this is its largest change "in a decade," but it might be enough to prompt a vacation after two years of huddling in place.