By Alison Fox
Jun 16, 2021
AIRBNB’S NEWEST FEATURE is catering to the ‘flexible’ nature of travel these days, allowing travelers to expand on their typical search parameters when it comes to discovering new places.
The company’s new Flexible Destinations option allows users to search for unique properties, prioritizing a cool place to stay over a specific location, while the Flexible Matching option will suggest similar listings that fall just outside a traveler’s search (like a set price, for example).
The Flexible Dates option, which the company started offering in February, will allow people to search for periods of time like a weekend or even a month-long stay, rather than setting specific dates. Airbnb said more than 100 million searches have taken advantage of this option since it launched.
“We are seeing three fundamental shifts in travel as people become less tethered and more flexible,” Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, said in a statement. “People can travel anytime, they are traveling to more places and they are staying longer. The lines between travel, living and working are blurring and we are upgrading our service to make it easier for people to integrate travel into their lives, and for more people to become Hosts.”
The new search tools come as Airbnb said it has seen more and more demand for flexible travel, aided by the work from home trend. Travelers have also tended to stay longer: In the first quarter of 2021, 24 percent of nights booked were for 28 days or longer, up from 2019 when those stays accounted for only 14 percent of nights booked.
Additionally, Airbnb said it is adding new filters to home searches so potential customers can look for things like nearby points of interest (like national parks) or cool features (think: ocean views and wood-burning fireplaces). The company said the filters will adapt to the season and location.