Airbnb Plus is a new, higher end tier of Airbnb’s standard accommodations, verified and inspected in person for adherence to a high standard for cleanliness, comfort, design and amenities. These amenities include high speed internet, a well equipped kitchen, high quality private bathrooms with sufficient bath products (shampoo, conditioner, body soap), and the kinds of little extras (ironing board, hair dryer, plush towels) that you’d expect in a better quality hotel. If you want to see the full list of Airbnb Plus criteria, it can be found here.
In addition, an Airbnb Plus listing needs to be an entire property or a private bedroom with a private bath, have a rating of at least 4.8 out of 5, and the host has to have accepted 95 percent of booking requests and cancelled none of their reservations for the last year.
Airbnb Plus appears to be aimed both at the current Airbnb customer who wants a higher level of assurance that the accommodation is going to meet a certain standard of quality, and the traveler who is reluctant to try Airbnb, concerned that Airbnb accommodations won’t have the amenities that they’ve come to expect in your average upscale hotel chain.
When and Where is Airbnb Plus Available?
Airbnb Plus debuts now with approximately 2,000 accommodations in 13 cities worldwide (Los Angeles, Shanghai, Cape Town, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Rome, Milan, Toronto, Barcelona, Chicago, Austin, and San Francisco. Airbnb says they plan to have over 75,000 Airbnb Plus homes across 50+ markets by the end of 2018, and are launching in 13 more cities mid-year, including Athens, Auckland, Bali, Beijing, Chengdu, Crete, Lisbon, Mexico City, Montreal, Phoenix, Prague, Riviera Maya, and Seattle.
How much do Airbnb Plus Accommodations Cost?
Airbnb says that Airbnb Plus homes average about $250 per night, compared to the roughly $100 per night cost of their other accommodations. The average doesn’t paint the entire story, as the range varies quite a bit. In Los Angeles, for example, I found Airbnb Plus homes ranging from $53 a night to $3600 a night.
Amenities, Design and Problems Avoided
There are certain amenities that I’ve come to expect in an overnight accommodation: a coffee maker, shampoo, conditioner, a hair dryer, access to an iron and an ironing board. I don’t care about a TV particularly, but most people expect one. Sufficient sheets, towels, pillows and an extra blanket if I need one.
You would think that most people who become Airbnb hosts figure out quickly that they need to provide these amenities, but it isn’t always the case. At a recent stay in Vancouver, they didn’t have a printed house manual with the Wifi code. The code was on the Wifi router, but I had to get down on my knees to read it. Not exactly convenient.
Airbnb also works with Airbnb Plus hosts to raise the general level of design in their homes, both by requiring this as part of their inspection and in some cases by providing them access to design services like that provided by Havenly.
How do You Find Airbnb Plus Accommodations?
For now, just search for accommodations in any of the initial 13 cities. When you do so, you can’t miss the Airbnb Plus homes, as they’re presented first in a grouping of their own, with a magenta Plus badge and the word verified next to the badge. Once you’re in the Airbnb Plus group within a city, you can then use the filters to find homes that match your dates, number of guests, price, etc. Strangely enough, Airbnb Plus itself isn’t a filter – if you end up in the broader listing of accommodations within a city, you can’t then filter by Airbnb Plus properties.
What Else was Announced?
The announcement of Airbnb Plus was part of a 10-year anniversary announcement event that Airbnb dubbed “Tomorrowland”. While clearly Airbnb Plus was the most high profile announcement, Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky also made a number of other announcements:
- Four new property category types: In addition to the current categories (shared, private room, entire home), Airbnb is adding vacation home, bed & breakfast, boutique hotels and unique properties (treehouses, teepees, etc) for a total of 7 categories. Over time they’ll expand this with other tags: ranch, winery, resort, Ryokan, chalet, etc. One improvement that some hosts have asked for that they didn’t announce is something in between private room and entire home – for example, a private room that also has access to a private kitchen.
- Airbnb Collections – properties organized less about attributes of the property itself and more about how people might use it. For example, the initial nine Airbnb Collections are dinner party, family vacation, honeymoon, wedding, group getaway, one-of-a-kind, social stays, work and accessible. So far, just Family and work collections are implemented, with the remainder coming later this year.
- A revamped Superhost program. Today, Superhosts receive very limited recognition or benefits compared to the average hosts, but according to Chesky, they want to change this and improve the Superhosts program. For example, Superhosts will be able to reach dedicated support agents, who presumably will offer faster and a higher level of support. Airbnb also plans to open up an online store available to Superhosts with discounts on popular products like Nest home automation hardware.
- A superguest program. Airbnb did not provide much information about this program other than it would be launching this summer with some early testing with about 10,000 early adopters. Presumably this program would provide concierge service to resolve problems, discounts, perhaps access to certain properties.
- Beyond by Airbnb. This future program will provide an even higher tier of accommodations as well as what Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky called “Magical” experiences (he mentioned truffle hunting and cooking classes with local chefs) to allow people to take the “trip of a lifetime” through Airbnb.
Airbnb has certainly come a long way since those early days ten years ago when a Host provided space on an extra air mattress to help defer the rent on an expensive San Francisco apartment.