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Airbnb wants you to feel like part of the neighborhood, no matter where you are

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Airbnb has been completely redesigned from the ground up. The room-booking site has a new logo, as well as a revamped interface on web and mobile that aims to make getting around the site much easier. The new Airbnb leans heavily on photos of spaces and their hosts, legible text, and placing relevant information in just the right order. There's also a new Discovery section that provides ideas for places to go and what to do there, and a much improved Search screen for finding rooms in a specific city.

"What makes Airbnb unique is its people, our hosts, and our guests"

The site looks great, but what's perhaps more important is Airbnb's new focus on "belonging," a theme the company touts frequently on its new site and with its new logo. "What makes Airbnb unique is its people, our hosts, and our guests, so we wanted to create a symbol of belonging," says Justin Santamaria, who led the project. Airbnb seems to be hoping that the sense of belonging its users and hosts cultivate is what distinguishes the company from competitors, where booking a room is arguably more transactional and less neighborly. Airbnb's new logo, called "The Bélo," was crafted accordingly, and is a combination of a person's face, a place pin, and a heart. The logo is certainly cute, but has drawn early criticism for its uncanny likeness to the logo of Automation Anywhere, and also to some less savory body parts.

Old_airbnbAirbnb's old listing page

New_airbnb_listing_pageAirbnb's new listing page

The company's focus on belonging also manifests itself in some new features. A useful new section at the bottom of every listing shows nearby restaurants, bars, and points of interest that hosts have highlighted. "You can not just get a sense of of listing, but also how you'd belong in the neighborhood you're staying in," says Santamaria. A neat grid of interesting places surround each listing's location pin, almost like a hyper-specific Foursquare.

Airbnb is also offering a new "Create" page that lets you customize its new Bélo logo with hundreds of stickers, colors, and textures so you can display one on your front door, or on a T-shirt or mug. "Create Airbnb is a recognition that our identity simply cannot be separated from all of you," writes CEO Brian Chesky in a blog post. "This is a shared brand identity. It's something no company has ever done before." The big idea, writes Chesky, is to make Airbnb guests feel at home in any of the 34,000 cities and 190 countries where the company has rooms.

Most hotel chains have brands that span the width of the world — brands that customers might stay local to for years or even decades. Now, Airbnb — the company perhaps in the best position to disrupt the hotel industry — has one of its own.