Airbnb is hoping to get more of its hosts and guests on mobile, as it has launched a “reimagination” of its iOS and Android apps. Today at an event in Airbnb’s new San Francisco office space, the company announced the new versions, which include an improved host dashboard, a more immersive design, and host groups, to help hosts connect with one another.
At the event, Airbnb underlined the company’s grand vision for connecting guests and hosts. “What if you could get paid to bring people to your living room?” Chesky said. “What if you could book someone’s home the way you could book a hotel anywhere around the world?”
With its new mobile apps, Airbnb is hoping to better empower its hosts to manage their listings. For Airbnb, today’s mobile launch represents the next iteration of its product roadmap, as the company seeks to provide better tools for connecting guests who need short-term lodging with hosts who have a room or apartment to spare. That’s something that the company has been increasingly striving toward, with a number of new product launches over the years.
On the host side, the mobile app underlines new hospitality standards that it’s trying to put forward, thanks to new head of hospitality Chip Conley. It’ll provide a stronger dashboard designed to help hosts respond to incoming messages, accept bookings, manage upcoming guests, update their calendar, and request photography directly from within the app.
That starts with Host Home, a new flow for adding your listing to the Airbnb platform directly through the mobile app. That includes the ability to request Airbnb’s free professional photography just from the smartphone. Hosts are also immediately directed to the host forum, quickly connecting the thousands of new hosts with others who already know what they’re doing.
There’s also a revised way to respond to inquiries, putting all communications, information about guests, and the ability to check one’s calendar all on a single screen. And, of course, hosts can accept the reservation immediately, without having to move around to different screens.
Host Home also makes recommendations for how to make a guest’s stay more special. It recommends amenities, recommends things that users can do to prepare for their guests, and recommends a special touch that hosts can provide for each of their new guests. It then sends a push notification for when guests are checking in. The app also provides users with the ability to learn about local host events, such as local meetups with other community members.
For guests, the app was revised to help users more easily discover listings that they’d like to stay at. That includes an improved “Discover” tab, which showcases more of Airbnb’s most compelling properties. It also streamlines the way that users can communicate with hosts and book listings. That includes changing the way that guests are listed, with reviews listed way up in their profiles and a streamlined way to book and pay for properties.
Airbnb is launching a new “Get Mobile” program to get even more of its hosts to use those apps. That could include helping hosts to pay for smartphones when they don’t already have them, as the cost will be subsidized against future revenues for those being booked.
“Airbnb is a company that was founded by hosts, for hosts,” Chesky said. With that in mind, the company is trying to get hosts rallied around the idea of openness in which you can “go anywhere and feel like you’re going home.”
This blending of the online and offline worlds helps Airbnb become not just a peer-to-peer platform, but also an integral part of the experience when travelers arrive. Making booking, communicating, and managing properties easier via mobile will make that a lot easier for Airbnb users.