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Inspired by the major shift in how people are traveling within Australia and around the world, Airbnb is introducing more than 100 upgrades to refine and improve every aspect of the Airbnb experience, from our website and app to our community support and policies. The Airbnb 2021 Release adds features to give guests even more flexibility when planning their travel and to make it simple for anyone to become a Host.

The updates come as new Airbnb data reveals a real dispersal of travel, with guests seeking out regional destinations both globally and in Australia. The percentage of rural nights booked in Australia jumped from 18% for winter 2019 to 42% in 2021, fueling a demand for rural listings and unique homes like farm stays. Interestingly families are leading the redistribution of travel, using homes for longer stays to live anywhere, together. Almost 50% of Australians (47%) say that who they’re with and what they do together is the most important factor when planning travel this year, according to Airbnb’s new Report on Travel and Living.

“We are seeing three fundamental shifts in travel as people become less tethered and more flexible,” said Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb. “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.”

I’m Flexible
Flexibility is at the heart of a new, improved browsing and booking experience that we are introducing today with three new ways to search on Airbnb – Flexible Dates, Flexible Matching and Flexible Destinations.

Flexible Dates, which we started rolling out in February, makes it easy to find the best places to stay if you are flexible on when you go. Rather than searching with fixed dates, you can search for a weekend getaway, a week-long vacation or even a month-long stay. Since launching the tool we have already seen over 100 million searches using it and 16% of Australians have already travelled during off-peak times of the week or year.

Flexible Matching offers a wider selection of listing results when you search for a place to stay by surfacing homes just outside of your search parameters. This way, you never miss out on a great stay that falls just outside what was specified in a search—for example, if you were searching for a cosy country cottage and set the max price per night at $250, we would still show options priced just above this.

Flexible Destinations is a new way to plan trips when finding a unique place to stay is more important to you than traveling to a specific destination. It helps you discover incredible properties in places you might not have thought to search for and adapts to your location. For example, it surfaces tree houses in New Zealand, trullos in Italy, or castles in Spain. From tents to wagons, there are over 170,000 one-of-a-kind homes to choose from on Airbnb and the number of searches for these unique listings has grown 94 percent so far in 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.

We are also significantly improving our search capabilities to help people find their ideal place to stay. New filters will adapt to the season or location and allow people to search for homes near points of interest, such as national parks, or with very specific attributes such as whether the property has an ocean view or whether a fireplace is gas or wood-burning.

Making it Easier to Host
Airbnb is also making it even easier to become a Host with a brand new onboarding process that has been simplified from dozens of steps to just 10, supported by the latest technologies. Computer vision deep-learning models automatically suggest photo arrangements based on their guest appeal, while smart text suggestions help Hosts craft the best title and description for their listing. Streamlining and simplifying the process will help anyone who wants to host and take advantage of the coming travel surge onboard quickly to get their first booking. In fact, for new listings that were activated and booked in Q1 2021, 50 percent received a reservation request within four days of activation. A recent survey* conducted by Airbnb of Australian Hosts showed a third of respondents said the primary reason they started hosting was to “make ends meet”, with 30 percent looking to earn extra spending money.

World-Class Service
We are also improving our community support by doubling the number of support agents and expanding our support coverage from 11 to 42 languages. A completely redesigned Help Center will be easier to navigate by offering more personalized support to Hosts and guests.

Improvements Across the Entire Airbnb Experience 
Of the 100+ upgrades being showcased today, other highlights include:

  • Faster checkout process – We’ve reduced the number of steps for new guests to confirm their first reservation.
  • Arrival guide – Easy access to all the helpful information a guest needs (directions, door codes, Wifi and message the Host option) before check-in.
  • Updated reviews – Guests now have a fuller spectrum, from critiques to compliments, to rate their stay.
  • Clearer Cancellations – Refreshed cancellation policies increase clarity for both guests and Hosts.
  • All-new Today tab – A new centralized home base to make it easier for Hosts to manage bookings and daily tasks. Here they will see new booking requests, upcoming reservations as well as details of current guests and quick links to the most used Host tools.
  • New welcome to hosting page – A redesigned hub for new Hosts with helpful articles and testimonials as well as an improved tool to estimate potential earnings from hosting based on nightly rates and occupancy in their immediate area.
  • Inbox improvements – Messages now load up to 10 times faster and new features include Personalized Quick Replies which let Hosts reply with one tap to guests’ often-asked questions, and Scheduled Messages which automates sending reminders, like checkout instructions.
  • Dedicated Superhost support – A dedicated support team for Superhosts and Host Community Leaders giving our most experienced Hosts priority access to our most experienced support agents.