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AirBnB has recently launched its AirBnB Plus program, with added benefits for travelers and an enhanced customer support system. What’s in it for you?
AirBnB seems to have launched the AirBnB Plus program with the frequent, slightly more upscale, traveler in mind. The benefits are geared towards soft upgrades like highly rated hosts and well-designed homes. The AirBnB Plus page describes a few upgrades, including:
- Beautiful Homes
- Exceptional Hosts
- Verified Quality (all homes are visited in person by AirBnB’s team)
- Thoughtfully Designed
I’ve used AirBnB a lot in my travels, and none of those bullets particularly interest me. What I am looking forward to though, is their check-in and customer support process for AirBnB Plus homes. AirBnB Plus homes all have either a lockbox, keypad, or on-call host to greet you. When I’m running late and can’t get in touch with the host, properties with a keypad are a huge benefit. On AirBnB Plus listings, you’ll also have access to a dedicated AirBnB Plus customer support team. Again, I think this is a big plus (…get it??). As a company that can be notoriously hard to get in touch with (here’s a whole website dedicated to AirBnB horror stories), a single point of contact will benefit frequent users immensely.
As with all good things, there’s a small catch. Prices are going to be higher. Where I tend to book AirBnBs in the sub $100/night range, most of the AirBnB Plus homes come in over the $100 line. You’re paying more, but you’ll presumably get more value as well. AirBnB Plus properties are also only in a handful of cities so far. If you’re going to Barcelona, LA, London, Melbourne, Rome, Shanghai, or a few others, you’ll have the chance to book an AirBnB Plus.
Personally, I think the dedicated AirBnB Plus team and simplified check-in are worth their weight in gold….if AirBnB delivers. I value AirBnB highly for it’s flexibility and the chance to live more “like a local”. My family likes being able to cook, and it definitely feels more like home to us than a night in a hotel. AirBnB usually fits in halfway between a hostel and a hotel in my opinion, especially when you’re booking an apartment all to yourself. I’ve stayed at AirBnBs throughout the states and in Canada, the Bahamas, Mexico, Peru, and Costa Rica – all good experiences, and I hope AirBnB Plus provides even more value.
Read more about AirBnB Plus here.
What’s Coming Next?
AirBnB Plus is the first of many additions to the AirBnB platform. Next up, we’ll be seeing the Beyond by AirBnB collection, and then their loyalty program – AirBnB Superguest.
Beyond by AirBnB will give access to special homes, fueled by the company’s recent acquisition of Luxury Retreats. Luxury Retreats specialized in mansions, tree houses, castles, waterfront villas, and anything out of the ordinary. Want to live like a king? You’ll be searching the Beyond collection for your next stay. I see this as a great move by AirBnB to expand their customer base and capture some of the luxury rental market. Beyond claims to offer “full hospitality service” – I’m thinking something closer to a hotel then, right? Who knows, maybe my next post will come to you from a castle in Southern Europe, while I’m being served by chefs in trademark AirBnB pink. Beyond by AirBnB is slated to launch sometime this Spring, according to the company.
AirBnB will also be launching their Superguest loyalty program later this year. Details are limited so far, and it appears the company is still working out details on how to approach a loyalty system. If you have an idea for the Superguest program, let AirBnB know by going to this page! As a points and miles enthusiast, I’m certainly looking forward to what they come up with. There’s a lot of potential here, and I’d love to see something like the Hotels.com loyalty system, where each stay effectively earns you 10% back in a free night credit, and we could still stack with portals, discounted gift cards, and other deals. Maybe even a cobranded AirBnB card?