Earlier this month, Airbnb announced that it is rolling out several new features, including options to search for listings up to a year in advance and verified internet speeds at hosts’ homes, as the vacation-rental company bets that remote work and flexible travel is here to stay.
The announcement was made just days after the U.S. reopened borders to international tourists after being closed to foreign travelers for months.
According to Bloomberg news, the more than 50 new features are part of Airbnb’s Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky’s vision of a new golden age of travel that was born in the Covid-era, where work and leisure pair closely together as businesses move away from an office-centric lifestyle.
“I think the practical challenge is finding a place that is available for a month,” Chief Strategy Officer Nathan Blecharczyk said in an interview. “If you plan ahead, there’s zero problem doing that.”
In the third quarter of 2021, Airbnb reported record earnings and sales, showcasing the company’s resilience to the effects of Covid-19 and the persistent demand of vacation rentals for both work and play. The company cited policies from Amazon, Procter & Gamble, and Ford Motor Co. that have announced increased flexibility for employees and it expects more to follow suit.
As a consequence, Airbnb will now help hosts to test their listing’s Wi-Fi and have the speed verified on site.
“With this upgrade, you can be confident that you won’t miss a Zoom or a favorite streaming show from your Airbnb,” the company said.
Furthermore, the new tools complement Airbnb’s “I’m Flexible” campaign from May, which gave guests the option to search for listings up to six months in advance—a feature that has already been used more than 500 million times.
The latest updates will also allow travelers to search for more “off the grid” and offbeat listings, correlating with the pandemic trend of migrating away from large urban centers and choosing nearby or rural vacation destinations.
This aligns with the trend seen in the coworking sector of new spaces coming to the suburbs as businesses recognize the advantages of working remotely near one’s home rather than commuting.