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Airbnb announces major changes for travellers

·Personal Finance Editor
·3-min read
The Airbnb app as it appears on a smart phone with a red circle highlighting where the changes are and a  man using a laptop outside.
Airbnb has introduced a host of changes to its platform. (Source: Airbnb/Getty)

From a new way to search, free travel cover for guests and the ability to split stays, Airbnb has unveiled a host of changes to its platform.

Airbnb said the changes were spurred by the pandemic because millions of people were now more flexible about where they lived and worked.

The three major changes include:

  • Categories - A new way to search that makes it easy to discover millions of homes you never knew existed

  • Split Stays - An innovative feature that provides more options for longer stays by splitting your trip between two homes

  • AirCover for guests - Included free with every stay

“The way people travel has changed forever. That’s why we’re introducing the biggest change to Airbnb in a decade,” CEO Brian Chesky said.

Here’s how things will work.

Airbnb Categories

When you open Airbnb, you will be presented with 56 categories that organise homes based on their style, location or proximity to a travel activity.

When you search for a destination, your search results are also organised by categories that are relevant to that destination.

As you view different categories, the map zooms to show you where the homes are located.

The 56 Airbnb Categories will organise homes by what makes them unique, to help people discover places they may not have otherwise found.

Split Stays

In the past three months, nearly half of all bookings on Airbnb were for trips of a week or more, Airbnb said.

Split Stays is a new feature that can split your trip between two homes. If you select the Split Stays feature, you will typically see around 40 per cent more listings when searching for longer stays.

When searching a specific destination, Split Stays automatically appear in your search results.

They also appear within 14 categories — including Camping, National Parks, Skiing and Surfing.

For example, when browsing the Skiing category, Split Stays might suggest a pair of homes near Thredbo and Mt Hotham.

When viewing Split Stays on a map, an animated line visually connects the two homes to show you the distance between them and the sequence of the stays.

Once you select a Split Stay, you’re guided through an interface to book each stay, one home at a time.

AirCover for Guests

Airbnb said AirCover would be “the most comprehensive protection in travel”.

AirCover will always be included and always be free.

With AirCover, you will be covered by four protections every time you stay on Airbnb:

  • Booking Protection Guarantee - In the unlikely event a Host needs to cancel your booking within 30 days of check-in, Airbnb will find you a similar or better home, or you will be refunded

  • Check-In Guarantee - If you can’t check into your home and the host cannot resolve the issue, Airbnb will find you a similar or better home for the length of your original stay, or refund you

  • Get-What-You-Booked Guarantee - If at any time during your stay you find your listing isn't as advertised — for example, the refrigerator stops working and your host can’t easily fix it, or there are fewer bedrooms than listed — you'll have three days to report it and Airbnb will find you a similar or better home, or refund you

  • 24-hour Safety Line - If you ever feel unsafe, you’ll get priority access to specially trained safety agents, day or night

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