Airbnb has taken another step in the direction of its rivals in the vacation rental sector, with what it claims are milestones on booking and technology.
For all its popularity and the apparent tech-driven nature of its brand, until now Airbnb has been behind others in the world of private accommodation with only having instant booking available on a small minority of listings.
The feature was only introduced in 2014 (all guests previously had to request a stay with the host and then wait for confirmation) – but this week the company says it has reached a level where two out of five listings offer instant booking.
This equates to 60% of all bookings now being secured with instant booking.
The shift is likely to continue on a sharp upward trajectory as Airbnb says 70% of all new listings on the site are using the facility.
The brand has a fair way to go before it catches up with private accommodation rival Booking.com, which has 100% of its portfolio with instant booking, whilst HomeAway has aspirations of its own to get as close as it can to an overwhelming majority of properties featuring the functionality (not least because sister brand Expedia wants to integrate as much of its content as possible).
To coincide with the announcement about instant booking, Airbnb says it is introducing a number of vacation rental-esque tools for hosts, including a new calendar tool for hosts with multiple listings (i.e. property management companies), a guest reservation holding system and check-in and check-out parameters.
A slightly curious new function is a restriction on guests being able to book a listing when they haven’t given it glowing feedback.
The “rebooking controls” will prevent guests that have rated a host three stars or lower from being able to instantly book with the same host again.
“Since making Instant Book available, we’re seen it improve experiences for both guests and hosts on Airbnb.
“Instant Book gives hosts convenience and control, more guest interest, and can increase bookings. For guests, Instant Book gives them flexibility and confidence, whether booking an annual vacation, a quick weekend getaway or last-minute accommodations.”