It’s that time of year again! No, not beach vacations and piña coladas, but the Airbnb Summer Release! And, if you’re like us, you’re eager to see what changes have been made and how they will affect you as a host.
Well, after introducing 10 updates for hosts in their 2022 Winter Release, Airbnb has now announced up to 25 upgrades for hosts in their 2023 Summer Release, which was launched on May 3rd. Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky was keen to stress that the latest upgrades were made with the goal of making it easier to be a great host and were based on extensive customer feedback. He elaborated by confirming they’ve “held workshops around the world and have had over 3,000 conversations with hosts.”
Taking onboard the feedback, Airbnb has introduced a variety of updates that they hope will benefit hosts and guests alike. As a vacation rental host, you’re likely always on the lookout for ways to improve your guests’ experience and make your job easier. That’s why we’re excited to share the details of Airbnb’s latest release with you. From new categories to enhanced pricing features, there’s much to be intrigued about.
In this article, we’ll break down the main updates, discussing how they work and what they mean for hosts like you, and we’ll analyze the thinking behind Airbnb’s newest upgrades.
So, without a doubt, the biggest news surrounding the Airbnb 2023 Summer Release is the introduction of the not-so-new ‘Rooms’ category. It’s all about promoting private rooms to budget-conscious travelers while creating deeper connections between hosts and guests.
The Rooms category is very much Airbnb going back to its roots and the original concept of Airbnb when it was first launched. Brian Chesky notes in the launch video that, “Staying with a host was the original idea behind Airbnb…we want more people to try it.”
Is this a step backwards?
With over one million rooms available on Airbnb, and with an average nightly rate of just 67 USD, it’s clear that Airbnb is attempting to promote budget-friendly travel experiences, especially for Gen Z guests.
Gen Z guests are more likely to book cheaper stays while hoping to experience a closer connection to their host. This could be good news for hosts who don’t have the desire or the resources to rent out whole properties, as they should see an increase in visibility in their room listings.
On the other hand, Airbnb may also be looking to play the long game with this one. By promoting less expensive room stays now, they could be hoping to build a loyal customer base who, over the next few years, will then be encouraged to book more profitable, whole-property stays.
Not only that but as more and more rules and regulations are introduced regarding short-term rentals throughout the world, Airbnb could be trying to help alleviate the housing crisis while helping hosts stay competitive. Many regulations targeting short-term rentals appear to be cracking down on entire apartments and houses but still allow the renting of rooms, provided that the host shares the living space with their guests. If you’ve found your Airbnb business has been restricted due to tougher STR laws, the new Rooms strategy may soften the blow by allowing you to still earn money with your rental.
Furthermore, by promoting the concept of Rooms, Airbnb hopes to attract new hosts who only have rooms to rent. This could be an attempt to rebrand itself to avoid being seen as an expensive form of travel that is mostly managed by vacation rental management companies and anonymous property managers.
It’s hard to tell whether or not Rooms will be as popular as Brian Chesky hopes it will be, but it should create even more hosting opportunities and help keep the market competitive. Perhaps it’s one step backward to take two steps forward in this case.
The Host Passport
This leads to our next point: The Host Passport. As Airbnb intends to promote and push its new Rooms category, they’ve decided to introduce measures to make renting rooms in shared living areas more comfortable. The Host Passport was created to ensure guests feel right at home.
Found in listings within the Rooms category, the passport is a tool that provides all the basic information about the host, including ratings and interests. Guests can even swipe up to learn more about their host’s work experience, language skills, and other fun details they choose to share.
But the Host Passport is more than just a replacement for host profiles. It’s a way for hosts to provide even more information about themselves. This added layer of trust and connection helps guests feel safe and familiar with their hosts, making their stay that much more enjoyable. So, make sure you complete the necessary information in your passport so you can start making the most of this feature right away!
Revamping the pricing tools
This exciting update includes redesigned pricing tools that are conveniently located in the calendar, making it easier for hosts to manage their prices more efficiently. No more bouncing around different tabs or pages – everything you need to adjust prices, change availability, and review discounts or promotions is now in one place.
But that’s not all – Airbnb has also introduced an updated price breakdown tool that will soon be rolled out, providing hosts with a clear breakdown of the guest’s total price, including fees, discounts, promotions, taxes, and host earnings. This feature is likely to be appreciated by hosts who want to make sure they are maximizing their earnings while providing guests with a transparent and fair pricing structure.
One of the most useful improvements in this update is the introduction of weekly and monthly discount sliders. These sliders make it easier for hosts to set and adjust discounts based on demand in the area. With just a few swipes and clicks, hosts can set their discounts and see their nightly prices and earnings updated instantly.
Compare similar listings and rates in your area
If you’ve ever struggled to gauge how much to charge for your property, then you’ll love this. Airbnb has just introduced an innovative new feature that allows hosts to compare their prices to similar listings in their area, ensuring they stay competitive and up-to-date with pricing trends. With the help of a brand-new map, hosts can access the average prices of listings similar to theirs, whether they are booked or unbooked, instantly!
By simply selecting an open date or date range on their calendar, hosts can tap or click on their nightly price and hit the button with a map icon and the words “compare your price”. This will bring up a map showcasing the average prices of similar listings in their area, taking into account vital factors like location, size, features, amenities, ratings, and reviews.
This feature aims to help hosts better understand pricing trends in their area, giving them a competitive edge and ensuring they are always up-to-date with current pricing trends. However, some hosts have noted that they can’t take advantage of this feature if they are connected to an external pricing tool, such as PriceLabs, which would be a major drawback. If this is the case, it could be an attempt by Airbnb to encourage hosts to use Airbnb’s own pricing tools.
Swipe-to-select and yearly view
First up is the swipe-to-select feature, which allows hosts to select multiple dates by simply swiping across them. This means hosts can easily change the prices for multiple dates without having to close the calendar or switch screens. Say goodbye to the hassle of individually selecting dates – this new feature will save you time and make pricing changes a breeze.
The second feature is the yearly view, coming to hosts in June. This new feature enables hosts to display their availability for the entire year on one screen. Each month’s price is also included, making it easy to see how much you’re earning each month. You can even select “Year” in the drop-down menu at the top of your calendar to view all 12 months at once, with current, future, and pending reservations highlighted in the same colors as in the monthly view.
These changes may appear to be simple UX (user experience) modifications; however, we’re sure they’ll save hosts significant time and hassle when managing pricing.
Built-in checkout instructions
Get ready for an even smoother checkout experience on Airbnb this summer! This latest upgrade promises to simplify the checkout process for both guests and hosts alike. With just a few clicks, hosts can now add custom checkout instructions for their guests while selecting from a range of common tasks to ensure nothing is overlooked. And the best part? Guests can access all of this information on their Airbnb Trips tab, making it easy to stay organized and on track.
This is great news for both hosts and guests as it means hosts can feel safer knowing that their list of instructions is clear and easy to find, while guests will be able to let their host know when each task has been completed without having to switch from their Airbnb app.
Know if your guests have read your messages
One of the coolest new features is read receipts. Say goodbye to the frustration of wondering if your guests have read your messages. Now, both hosts and guests can see if their messages have been read with a handy little read indicator that appears below the last message.
Furthermore, Airbnb has also upgraded its quick replies, making it even easier for hosts to respond to messages quickly and efficiently. With visual cards linking to checkout instructions, you can now give your guests a seamless booking experience. Plus, auto-suggestions within the inbox help you respond to messages lightning-fast, so you can spend less time typing and more time making sure your guests have an amazing stay.
Co-host permissions and payouts
The updated co-hosting tools are now available in the new Co-Hosts tab on the Airbnb mobile app. From there, hosts can access co-host information, set permissions, and establish payouts with ease. Plus, this latest feature allows you to share a percentage of your earnings or a fixed amount per booking with your co-hosts.
In addition, inviting co-hosts is super easy – all they need is an Airbnb account to accept your invitation. And with various access levels to choose from – including full access, calendar and inbox access, or calendar access only – you can tailor the experience to your co-host’s needs.
Existing co-hosts will automatically have full access, but don’t worry – you can change permissions at any time.
50 upgrades in total for guests and hosts
Although we’ve focused on the 25 updates for hosts, Airbnb has released 50 upgrades in total, affecting everyone that uses the platform. One of the most significant for guests is the “type of place” filter, which has been revamped for seamless switching between Airbnb Rooms, entire homes, or all types of places. Additionally, the price filter has been enhanced to display the average price for each type of place.
Guests concerned about privacy in shared living areas will be pleased to learn that all Airbnb Rooms now come with clear indications on the listing page about whether the bedroom door has a lock or not. Moreover, they can also check whether the bathrooms are private or shared and if there will be other people apart from the host staying in the home during their trip. This is a win for all as it will be a great feature to reassure and manage guest expectations, leading to more positive experiences and reviews.
You can find more information about all 50 upgrades here.
Should I be happy with the host updates?
All in all, the latest Summer Release has a lot of positives, and hosts can be excited about the new features, which aim to make managing an Airbnb so much easier.
The strategic decision to launch Rooms could encourage thousands of new hosts to join the platform and turn out to be a blessing for hosts affected by regulations. It also has the potential to entice more guests to book, especially Gen Z-ers, who may find Rooms are a more budget-friendly option than whole properties.
It’s clear Airbnb has implemented certain changes to foster the host community and to ensure guests feel comfortable and safe in shared rentals, while the pricing and comparing tools can be praised for attempting to keep prices competitive and transparent.
As soon as the Airbnb Summer Release hit the virtual shelves, Brian Chesky wasted no time in reaching out to users for their feedback on the latest upgrades and what Airbnb can do to improve further. Interestingly, the top suggestions were quite intriguing, with users highlighting verified listings, a guest loyalty program, and a better review system as areas that needed attention.
These issues have been a major pain point for many users, but it’s exciting to learn that Brain Chesky has confirmed Airbnb is already working on them, with more updates expected to roll out throughout the summer.
As a Preferred Partner of Airbnb, Lodgify is dedicated to helping vacation rental hosts maximize their profits and streamline their business operations. Our integration with Airbnb means that hosts can easily synchronize their calendars, rates, and reservations across both platforms, saving them time and reducing the risk of double bookings.
So if you’re a vacation rental host looking to take your business to the next level, consider trying Lodgify with a free 7-day trial and see how easy managing your vacation rental can be.
Ready to take more direct bookings?
No set up fees, no credit card details, no obligation. Try Lodgify free for 7 days.