we talk about its news with Nate Blecharczyk, co-founder

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Two years ago, the start of the pandemic brought promising prospects for companies that could exploit the context of that time: Peloton to exercise at home without losing the social component, Netflix as a forced alternative for leisure and with closed cinemas or Zoom as the best friend. corporate to be able to continue holding meetings. One of the victims was Airbnb, which between restrictions and uncertainty had everything to lose with its business model, based on global tourist mobility. he had to cancel its IPO at the last minute and lay off employees in addition to rethinking itself as a company.

By December 2020, when the vaccination campaign had not even started, it resumed that IPO, with a somewhat erratic trajectory since then -currently 10% low since then and 40% since maximum, February 2021-, but with resilience after the worst global scenario for those who lived from tourism. Today, taking advantage of the fact that they announce news (“a new Airbnb”, says the company), we have been able to talk about them with Nate Blecharczyk, co-founder and director of strategy, as well as person in charge of the Chinese division. Also We chatted with Nate about that pandemic journey and the company’s future prospects.

Categories, stays divided and AirCover

The news from Airbnb, available from May 11, when this article was published, focuses on three points:

Categories

Airbnb Categories Camping And Historical Homes And Countryside En

Search for accommodation by categories, in the upper slider.

For search destinations by type of accommodation instead of by destination. In this way, instead of looking for accommodation in Valencia and searching for accommodation with unique pools, and then doing the same in other cities; we can search for houses with “incredible pools” (it is one of the 56 categories to choose from) throughout Spain if that is what we want.

For the traveler, this makes it possible to find the type of house or accessory (such as including a piano) that one wants when that detail matters more than the city in which it is located. For the owner, this increases the chances of being discovered despite not offering accommodation in a well-known city. Other categories are “creative spaces”, “surfing”, “chef kitchens”, “cabins”, “boats” or, to the delight of the people of La Mancha, “windmills”, the least populated category, with only 200 accommodations.

split stays

Airbnb Split Stays Cdmx And Copenhagen En

Example of split stays in the new Airbnb interface.

A novelty designed for those who travel using Airbnb and connect several destinations. This function is compatible with those who travel using at least two destinations and for at least one week.

AirCover

Airbnb Aircover Rebooking And Welcome Message En

Example of the AirCover conversational interface on Airbnb.

An guest insurance which is included by default and free of charge in all reservations. It was already announced, but it is part of this block update.

Allows you to get the money back or be helped by Airbnb to find a similar accommodation in the event that a guest cancels the reservation less than a month in advance; as well as if the house has a defect that prevents a correct stay (such as a faulty fridge that cannot be repaired) or if access to the house is impossible. A 24-hour security line is also offered if the guest feels unsafe or intimidated.

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Short-term news… but permanent

“What we have seen during the pandemic – and we think it will continue – is that more people are traveling for longer periods on Airbnb. More than 20% of reservations in the first quarter of this year were for three weeks or more. And half they are for trips of a week or more”, explains Nate contextualizing the arrival of the divided stays.

Nate B.

This function supports category searchso if someone searches for accommodation within Italian national parks, for example, they will not only see different houses in the same park as options, but also houses from different parks, showing the distance between them and the time needed to travel it.

The arrival of AirCover as a novelty at no cost to the traveler is also understood to be a collateral effect of the pandemic: with a boom in national tourism and more people losing the habit of traveling, they decided to bet on raising the guarantees for the traveler and increasing their perception of security.

“We want to make sure that when they go abroad, maybe for the first time in two years, they feel supported,” says Blecharczyk. “That’s what we’re looking for with AirCover, Peace of mind. Before they had 24 hours to report possible problems upon arrival, now they will have 72 hours for the Airbnb team to help you, find you a better option or refund your money.”

The opportunity of the telecommuting boom

When the pandemic started, Airbnb lost 80% of their income practically from month to month. “We had to make a lot of decisions to stabilize the situation,” Nate says of that time. Airbnb had 7,500 employees just before the pandemic. In May 2020 announced the dismissal of 1,900, a quarter part. It allowed guests with reservations to cancel if they wanted, at no cost to them; and still they provided a part of that canceled reservation to the hosts, pulling the savings of the company.

The emergency measures were followed by others that defined the company in the long term. “We canceled or suspended some projects that were not related to accommodation. For example, we were working on flights, on hotels, on a magazine… We stopped all that. Instead, we innovated in the core business.” That’s where today’s news comes from.

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The rise of remote work after the pandemic has also changed Airbnb, inside and outside. inside, because permanently adopted telecommuting for your entire workforce. Outside, because the growing digital nomads were a great opportunity to offer them itinerant destinations. “We are seeing that people are more flexible than ever, some can work remotely and that means they are not tied to specific dates, but can travel more and try new destinations.”

Telecommuting is an opportunity not only for Airbnb, but also for those who can extend their vacation stay by working partially from there

That’s where those nomads come in, as well as those who simply choose to spend a month in Japan working there for two of those four weeks, instead of just spending their two weeks on vacation. Telecommuting is an opportunity for Airbnb, circumstantial and permanent.

Already in 2021 they launched the flexible search option, which is now complemented by divided rooms and categories. “The pandemic made us make difficult decisions, but that made us focus and I think the result in terms of innovation and business results is positive,” says Nate. Their latest quarterly resultspublished a week ago, put him back in the profits with record number of nights booked.

One of the unknowns of Airbnb in recent years was what its landing in China would be like. COVID ruined all plans, and the strict national policy to contain the pandemic banned cross-border travel. So the company sees the APAC (Asia-Pacific) region “as a whole”. The domestic business, internal travel, is small and accounts for “less than 1%” of Airbnb’s revenue, according to Nate. “We’re optimistic about Asia, but you know, China is just a small piece of that equation,” he concludes about the world’s most populous country. Two years after the pandemic they have managed to reverse their situation and even take advantage of its consequences. The challenge of growing in China may be even greater.

Two years ago, the start of the pandemic brought promising prospects for companies that could exploit the context of that…

Two years ago, the start of the pandemic brought promising prospects for companies that could exploit the context of that…

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