Airbnb had a busy week last week, celebrating its 10th anniversary and announcing it's 2018 roadmap. To use their own words, they are turning their focus to "New property types, new tiers, Airbnb Collections and community recognition". This post is dedicated to their recently launched Plus program, one of their new tiers that assures guests the properties have met Airbnb's "100 point Checklist", marking Airbnb's first major effort to entice hotel lovers to try a home stay instead.
At first glance, this is all very straightforward, it's a program that Airbnb needs anyway if they really want to lure more luxury and business travelers to their properties. Wading through hundreds of properties to book a 2 night stay for work is unreasonable, and this program can likely alleviate a number of concerns and save a lot of time.
That's all great, but in their press packet for launch, Airbnb explains that the program was inspired by some of the best homes and their hosts behaviors, seemingly ignoring the other piece of the puzzle - the guests who stay there. Also worrying is the fact a property only has to have had only one stay to be eligible. Anyone who has stayed in a hotel during their soft opening knows that it takes at least few weeks if not months of experience to iron out kinks, and I can't imagine a novice host is any different.
Cape Town, South Africa currently has about 230 Plus properties and they all look incredible. I want to go. Now. But when I'm searching for a property on Airbnb.com, it's not clear to me if the "Non-Plus" properties haven't been reviewed, if they haven't applied, or if they "under consideration." For example, one of these properties is a Plus Property and one isn't:
You'll have to click through the images to find out which is plus and which isn't - and you'll notice that the non-plus property has over 170 reviews, a 5 star rating, and is under $200USD a night. The Plus property has over 109 reviews, a 5 star rating, and is over $200USD a night (which makes sense because it's a larger property). As a guest trying to book I might feel worried, unnecessarily, about booking the Non-Plus property, which is unfair to everyone. They both give every indication that they are incredible options.
At launch, there are over 2000 Airbnb Plus properties located in a handful of major cities around the world. Hosts must pay a $149 application fee to be considered, and I'm assuming that this is not returned, even if they are denied inclusion in the program. The fee covers "new services that are provided to hosts including the verification process and and "interior design consultation". If I were a host, I wouldn't love the idea of Airbnb making another $149 off of me and then giving me potentially nothing for it (would they still take pictures? Can the host keep them and use them?) Also, does Airbnb charge the $149 immediately or wait until you are evaluated in person? I wasn't able to verify any of these questions, and if you happen to know I'd love to hear more in the comments below.
As for the "interior design" consultation. I would LOVE to hear from anyone who has experienced this as it sounds fascinating. There's no denying that it's a lot of fun and inspiring to thumb through the Plus properties, both for travel and your own home's interior design. I have parsed through several hundred of the Plus properties and there are a few trends that appear several times:
Like any great experience, these properties inspire creativity whether you are just perusing online or fortunate enough to visit in person. Does anyone else wish you could Pin these images?
Special Offer and Inspiration
While the "Interior Design Consultation" is hopefully helpful, if you aren't in the process of becoming an Airbnb Plus host, I have a few sites/Instagrammers I recommend following for inspiration, and I've been lucky enough to secure a special discount for my readers at my favorite one, Eastern Boho, an online boutique selling one of a kind vintage textiles, most notably some of the coolest rugs I have ever seen. I highly recommend following them on Instagram, as not only are the images beautiful, but they are just lovely people. Use the code "weekendsaround" when ordering (best to email email@example.com with the code to ensure discount is applied). And, Eastern Boho always offers free shipping to anywhere in the world for orders over $100.
Thanks for reading my post on Airbnb Plus. Have you stayed at a Plus property? Are you an Airbnb Plus host or hoping to become one? I'd love to hear from you in the comments or feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.