Airbnb is trying to find new ways to encourage guests to stay at its listings, and that could include a whole new set of amenities. Thanks to the hiring of new head of hospitality Chip Conley, the company is experimenting with a whole bunch of services in different markets that could improve stays for both hosts and guests.
In a story from Fast Company that includes interviews with co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, as well as Conley, the focus is on the company’s efforts behind making Airbnb no longer just a place to find an affordable place but to make it into a global hospitality brand.
To do that, however, it needed to find new ways to not only standardize certain aspects of a user’s stay, but to go over and above what guests might expect.
Hence the hiring of Conley, who was the driving force behind the Joie de Vivre brand of boutique hotels, and to a large extent, the move by other major hospitality chains to create their own boutique-style experiences. Now that he’s on board at Airbnb, he’s behind the company’s effort to create a set of host guidelines for providing exemplary service to guests.
Some of those guidelines are no-brainers, such as ensuring that a listing is accurate, while others include the appropriate level of cleanliness or how to interact with guests. For a hospitality organization, that’s table stakes, however. According to Fast Company, Airbnb is also looking for ways to go over-and-above expectations.
That means experimenting with a variety of new services available to hosts and guests. One of those experiments includes offering an affordable cleaning service after guests leave, something TechCrunch reported on earlier this year. That service could go beyond just making sure a place is spick-and-span, but could also mean offering fresh sheets and stocking a fridge with goodies for new guests.
Other services mentioned in the Fast Company piece include improving key handoff between guests and hosts, which always introduces a bit of friction into the process of renting an Airbnb. Another experiment includes partnering with local transportation providers to offer rides to and from the airport for business travelers.
As Airbnb becomes more of a hospitality business and less of a peer-to-peer marketplace like eBay, you can probably expect more amenities as it seeks to compete with incumbent hotel chains for traveler dollars. Making each stay just a little better is a big part of that.