Airbnb is ready to launch a 'premier' tier to compete with hotels
Airbnb is reportedly close to launching a new, high-end 'premier' tier to compete with hotels and try and capture high-paying customers who have not yet used the service.
This is the main audience that Airbnb has been unable to attract to its current system, with older and wealthier clientele believing that the service is less polished than that of an established luxury hotel brand.
The new strategy is a deviation from the original sofa-surfing for millennials business model that Airbnb started with nine years ago, but it would open up an entire new demographic for the company to target and cater for.
Trials for the new system are expected to run sometime in the next week, whilst hosts will be regularly visited by an inspector who will determine if the living conditions meet the requirements, which are expected to be similar to a hotel's.
This news comes hot on the heels of the unveiling of a new split payment feature, which would allow guests to split the fee between up to 16 friends and share the cost of the room - something that has been long in demand.
There has also been a conscious effort to help streamline the checking-in process, within which hosts can create a step-by-step guide with images and texts to help guests settle in easily.
Airbnb earns its revenue by taking a percentage of each booking and is eager to justify its valuation of $31bn, with the new system expected to launch towards the end of 2017.