Working from anywhere just got easier with Airbnb’s new features

Nov 12, 2021

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This week, Airbnb announced its 2021 winter release, introducing dozens of new features to the home rental platform, including some designed to make booking and travelling easier for guests.

Earlier this year, Airbnb dropped a series of new features such as flexible stays and flexible destinations that helped people find places to travel during the pandemic when the “where” and “when” were less important than simply taking advantage of remote work and schooling.

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The new features, ranging from updated translation technology to a review process for a home’s accessibility features, are helping the platform become more inclusive.

Other new advances, like a tool to help verify a home’s Wi-Fi speed and a wider search tool for people who are “even more flexible” with their travel plans, also highlight how Airbnb is adapting to how travel has changed during the pandemic.

According to a new survey from Airbnb, out of 7,500 consumers, 38% “of self-identified hybrid/remote employees say they would rather quit their jobs than go back to work in-person full-time.” In the same survey, 63% of those polled said they expect more flexibility from their companies.

Translation: Wi-Fi speeds are very important to this new set of remote workers who are willing to work, well, basically anywhere.

Whether you’re looking for a place to work by the beach or just a house to rent for the holidays, here are some of the new Airbnb features you can use to start planning a trip today.

iphones with new airbnb features
Courtesy of Airbnb

Better translation

Just as U.S. borders reopen to foreign travellers this week, one of Airbnb’s most exciting features for people hoping to travel abroad without the hurdle of a language barrier is its new “translation engine.”

Operating in over 60 languages, the updated translation software “improves the quality of more than 99% of Airbnb listings,” the company claims. Now, users will no longer need to click to translate property descriptions and reviews as they’ll be automatically translated instead.

Confirmed Wi-Fi speeds

With “Verified Wi-Fi,” a great new feature for people who need to stay connected while travelling, hosts can test the internet speed in their listing in the Airbnb app and have it confirmed in the listing. This feature will help Airbnb users dodge spotty Wi-Fi and have a more productive work-from-anywhere experience.

More flexibility

When Airbnb originally launched flexible search options earlier this year, people were ready to go wherever Airbnb told them they could, from mountain retreats to seaside escapes, all because they were able to be flexible by a few days, a few months or even a few hundred miles.

Now, Airbnb is releasing the “I’m (even more) Flexible” tool, expanding flexible booking options up to a 12-month window. They’re also adding new flexible search categories including off the grid; ski-in, ski-out; luxe; and offbeat homes.

So, you can start planning next fall’s leaf-peeping adventure to basically anywhere with trees, whether you want to stay in a Beyoncé-worthy mansion or a remote cottage where Wi-Fi is the last thing on your mind.

Confirmed accessibility

One major improvement to Airbnb is a new program designed to confirm the accessibility features described in a listing. Now, hosts are required to submit photos of listed accessibility features to be manually reviewed by a specialised team of Airbnb agents. According to the company, it has already confirmed the accuracy of 100,000 features in 25,000 homes.

This is in addition to other accessibility features Airbnb has implemented recently, including enhanced search filters, 1 on 1 messaging with hosts to discuss certain parts of a home or the experience, dedicated teams working to improve accessibility for travellers and more.

Trip organisation

Another tool travellers will find handy is the redesign of Airbnb’s “Trips” tab, where all of your already booked trip information lives. Updates here include a countdown clock to your arrival, check-in details, all current and upcoming reservations and personalised suggestions for Airbnb Experiences to go along with the journey.

Featured image courtesy of Airbnb.

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