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Airbnb introduces a new method for booking longer stays prior to the summer travel season

Airbnb announced new ways to search for and book homes on its platform on Wednesday, in response to the rise in remote work and the number of guests who choose to stay for longer periods of time on the platform.

When longer stays aren't an option, the new features include the ability to divide trips more easily between two homes, as well as a search tool that surfaces properties that meet specific criteria, such as "creative spaces," "chef's kitchen," or "pool." The features were unveiled at a company's keynote event, which took place just before the critical summer traveling season.

"Travel has changed forever," said Brian Chesky, cofounder and CEO of Airbnb, in a statement released prior to the event. Chesky referred to the new features as "Airbnb's most significant update in a decade," according to the company.

Airbnb recently reported that business is booming again following the devastation caused by the pandemic's impact on the travel industry in the United States. Airbnb reported $1.5 billion in revenue in its most recent quarterly earnings report, a 70 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the company.

The majority of nights booked on Airbnb in the last three months were for stays of a week or more, according to the company. In order to accommodate this shift in demand, Chesky suggested that the new Split Stays feature, which allows guests to book back-to-back stays at multiple homes in the same area, be implemented.

According to the company, users searching for longer stays will see approximately 40 percent more listings as a result of this option, which will appear automatically in search results.

As part of its new Airbnb Categories search feature, users can search for lodging using 56 categories based on the type of home they are looking for — which includes tiny homes and yurts — the location and proximity to a travel activity, and the style of the home itself. With the help of its employees' ability to "live and work anywhere," Airbnb has also embraced this trend. According to Chesky, people are becoming "more flexible about where they live and work" as a result of this new search method.

In addition, the company announced that enhanced travel protections for guests will be automatically included with each and every reservation. AirCover's protections provide users with comparable accommodations or refunds in the event that their reservation is canceled, that they are unable to check into a home, or that the listing does not meet the specifications advertised. Additionally, the company stated that customers will have access to a 24-hour safety line if they feel unsafe at any point during their visit.

Earlier this month, the company announced "strict anti-party measures" ahead of the summer holidays, and the updates announced on Wednesday represent the company's most recent effort to crack down on those who use its platform to host unauthorized parties. Chesky first announced the company's ban on "party houses" in 2019, following a Halloween party at an Airbnb rental house in Orinda, California, that resulted in the deaths of five people.

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