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Our two main learnings from Airbnb’s 2024 Summer release: the growing trend of integrating experiences in stays and the need to take control over these offers.

We’ll give a quick summary of the release, in case you don’t want to read the whole thing. Then, we’ll share our opinion on what it means for short-term rental professionals. Read on for our suggestions on seizing these opportunities to stand out of competition, elevate and monetize guest experience today.

Airbnb 2024 Summer Release in a Nutshell

Airbnb’s Strategic Shifts and Introduction to Icons

Airbnb’s recent quarterly release introduced significant changes aimed at enhancing user experience and expanding its brand beyond traditional accommodations. A notable addition is “Icons,” a new category offering unique experiences hosted by celebrities in music, film, TV, art, and sports. This implementation shows Airbnb’s diversifying its offerings and catering to a broader range of traveler interests.

New Features for Enhancing the Group Trip Experience

Recognizing the growing popularity of group travel, Airbnb has introduced new features designed to improve the group travel experience. With over 80% of bookings attributed to group trips, these enhancements aim to facilitate collaboration and communication among trip members. Shared wish lists enable travellers to collectively curate their accommodations. A redesigned Messages Tab centralizes communication with hosts and provides tools for seamless interaction.

Quality Control or Strategic Tweak?

The activity suggests that Airbnb might be conducting a more extensive purge than just quality control checks. The lack of specific reasoning for removal has left operators feeling uncertain and insecure about their future on the platform.

Takeaway 1: Immersive Experiences in Stays

We see Airbnb expanding its brand beyond just places to stay and take their “experiential” game up a notch, introducing “Icons. This features the most extraordinary homes and experiences on the platform with celebrities and culture icons.

Is this a PR stunt or a strategy driven by the vision? The Up House, X-Men Mansion Kevin Heart are definitely sparking curiosity and driving tons of new users to the platform. But to their point, this move aligns with Brian Chesky’s vision of a ’10-star experience,’ where every detail of a guest’s stay exceeds expectations and creates lasting memories. It does look like a strategic effort to redefine Airbnb’s brand to evolve beyond just providing places to stay. Over the past few years, the company has partnered with big names like Disney and Pixar and introduced a variety of unique local tours and activities. Not to forget the famous Barbie house on the platform.

Designing 10-Star Guest Experience on Airbnb, by the CEO, Brian Chesky

Other platforms are also recognizing the importance of this trend. HomeToGo, for example, has integrated local experiences through partnerships with Komoot and GetYourGuide. The company is offering guests the chance to book excursions and tours as part of their stay. This highlights the growing demand for unique, personalized experiences in travel.

Conclusion 1: Offer Experiences to Your Guests

Hop in the trend and start offering experiences to your guests. 

Takeaway 2: Take Control

Recently, Airbnb removed about 5K experiences to maintain high standards. This sudden move surprised providers who lost their listings. While this might improve the quality of Airbnb’s offerings, it shows how dangerous can be depending on a single platform.

Experiences removed from Airbnb - hosts complaints

And similarly to bookings, a direct channel should work better for upselling and experiences. Vacation rental operators can build direct relationships with local businesses or use platforms like Holibob and Viator. And if you want to make experiential offers seamless and simple for guests and your team, Enso Connect’s got you covered.

You can provide local experiences that guests will love. Working with local businesses directly, supporting the community, or connected through aggregators. And what’s cool about it, is that you keep the upsells money, without sharing it with Airbnb.

While platforms like Airbnb continue to set high standards for guest experience, vacation rental operators must diversify their offerings. You can build direct ties with local businesses or use aggregators that do all the work for you. This ensures you can offer authentic, memorable experiences, support the local community, and achieve greater financial independence.

Conclusion 2: Airbnb is leading the way in exceptional experiences for travellers. But it is not the only way to do this.

Let Us Show You How to Seamlessly Offer Add-On Experiences and Upsells to Your Guests

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