Airbnb started in 2008 years ago as an alternative to traditional hotels, when co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia rented out a few air mattresses in their San Francisco apartment. Ten years later, the home sharing site has revolutionized the way people find short term housing rentals, with 300 million guests booking across 4.5 million listings in 81 countries (with the goal of reaching one billion guests by 2028).
In celebrating its 10th anniversary, Airbnb rolled out a number of announcements that position itself as being the dominant travel option for everyone, whether you’re looking for a pull-out couch or a treehouse or a high-end hotel. For travelers who prefer a hotel experience, the company just launched Airbnb Plus, a new high-end tier of housing that features beautiful homes verified against a 100+ point quality inspection, offered by the site’s best-reviewed hosts. The listings have hotel-like amenities such as fully featured bathrooms and kitchens, and the average price per night is less than $250/night. The service is available in 13 cities today (including Austin, Barcelona, Los Angeles, London, Rome, San Francisco, and Sydney), with plans to roll out to 50 cities by the end of the year. For hosts that are part of the Plus program, Airbnb will offer design consultation and professional photography services, so expect to see a lot more travel ‘grams in the future.
Airbnb’s answer to bucket list travel, Beyond Airbnb, is slated to roll out this spring. The service will offer “custom designed trips of a lifetime” and leveraging Airbnb’s acquisition of Luxury Retreats, “the world’s finest homes, custom experiences, and world-class hospitality.” As if you needed another reason to book a vacation this year.
The company is also rolling out improved features for its best hosts and guests; new property types (to help guests find their ideal listings more easily, especially if you’re looking for an unique dwelling like a yurt); and Airbnb Collections, homes catered to specific types of travel (such as family, work, honeymoons, and group getaways).
(Photos via Airbnb)