Airbnb is making a bigger push into Rooms, the option that lets you rent a private room in someone’s home. In a blog post posted on Wednesday, the platform announced that it’s launching a dedicated Rooms category, where it will now provide more details about the host you’re staying with on each listing.
On Airbnb’s website and app, you can now select the Rooms tab to see a list of all the available rooms for rent in the location you want to stay. Each listing has a readily available “host passport” in its bottom-left corner with the host’s photo. Clicking into a passport reveals more information about the host, including their ratings, reviews, and how long they’ve hosted on Airbnb as well as any other information they choose to share, like their interests, job, pets, unique aspects of their home, or what types of food they cook.
Host passports also tell you whether a host has confirmed their identity, email address, and phone number with Airbnb. The company notes that every Room listing will contain information about whether the bedroom door has a lock, if bathrooms are shared or private, and whether you’ll be staying with anyone else in the home besides the host.
Airbnb is making the change in response to the “current economic environment” and is marketing Rooms as a cheaper way to travel. The company says that over 80 percent of private rooms cost under $100 per night, while the average room is priced at around $67 per night. There are currently around 1 million private bedrooms available in the Rooms tab, according to Airbnb.
The changes also seem like a response to the backlash Airbnb has received over its rising prices and the sometimes outrageous chore lists and cleaning duties hosts impose on guests, leading some users to opt for a hotel stay instead. With this update, Airbnb is going back to its cheaper and more personal approach that it started out with.
Along with the introduction of a Rooms tab, Airbnb is making several other changes, including improved filters that allow you to easily switch between Rooms, entire homes, and all listings. There’s also a new price filter that lets you clearly see how many listings are offered in the price range you choose.
You can now see how much a stay will cost with fees across the entire app
Airbnb will now display more transparent pricing information as well, which means you can now see how much a stay will cost with fees (before taxes) in search results, maps, on listing pages, and while using the price filter. Airbnb is providing more transparency surrounding checkout instructions, too, and will provide a host’s checkout instructions on listing pages. The company will also let you tell it about “excessive requests” when leaving a review and says that it will remove listings with “repeated low ratings from unreasonable chores.”
Additionally, Airbnb is trying to make long-term stays more affordable by “significantly reducing” the guest service fee after three months. It’ll also let users in the US and Canada pay for stays in four interest-free payments over the course of six weeks through a partnership with the buy now, pay later service Klarna. Airbnb will start rolling out all of these new features this week.
Brian Chesky, the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, says the new Rooms push will help Airbnb get back its “founding ethos of sharing,” as the service first emerged in 2008 as an affordable way to rent rooms. “Airbnb Rooms are often more affordable than hotels, and they’re the most authentic way to experience a city,” Chesky says. “This is the soul of Airbnb.”