Winter vacation rental
A beautiful vacation rental in winter

The 2022 Airbnb Winter Update: What it Means for Hosts

Airbnb’s 2022 Summer Update introduced a variety of new and exciting features. AirCover and Split Stays felt like a breath of fresh air and were welcomed with open arms by most hosts.

The new Airbnb Categories, however, were subject to certain controversy, with some hosts claiming a decrease in visibility as a consequence of Airbnb promoting unique and, let’s be honest, more expensive stays.

With Airbnb’s 2022 Winter Update announced on November 16, we take a look at the new features and analyze what they mean for hosts going forward!

Airbnb Set Up and how does it work?

The increasing likelihood of a global recession has prompted many homeowners worldwide to list their properties on OTAs to generate a much-needed source of revenue. With this in mind, Airbnb wants it to be as simple and smooth as possible when adding accommodations to its platform.

While launching Airbnb Set Up, CEO Brian Chesky describes it as “the all-new, super easy way to Airbnb your home, with free one-to-one guidance from a Superhost.” Addressing one of the key pain points for new hosts, Airbnb Set Up is designed to make the initial setup of adding your property as a bookable accommodation far easier.

This new flow for onboarding offers newbie hosts the opportunity to be matched with an existing Superhost in the same area who can guide and advise throughout the setup process free of charge. After being asked “Where’s your place?” and “What type of place is it?”, new users can video call and share their screen with their partnered Superhost, who will help with selecting photos, writing your listing, and sharing any tips they may have.

To ease the process even further, new hosts can now choose to host an experienced guest for their first booking; one with positive reviews and several Airbnb stays already under their belt. This makes it a less daunting proposition for new hosts, who can use the experience to improve and act on customer feedback.

What’s new with AirCover?

AirCover, the “unmatched, top-to-bottom protection” provided free of charge to all Airbnb hosts has been updated to offer additional security. One of the main pain points in getting started as a host is placing trust in strangers to stay in your home. Rental properties have an array of valuable assets, which are key to attracting guests to book. Hosts want to be reassured that should any issues arise regarding the treatment of their property they will be reimbursed and protected accordingly.

This latest iteration of AirCover, therefore, has been upgraded to include the following:

Up to $3 million in damage protection

Airbnb now offers protection for parked cars and boats at the listed property, as well as additional protection for art and valuables. Although Airbnb already provided $1 million in damage protection, this now increases to $3 million, giving hosts a greater sense of security.

New guest screening features

From this month, every booking made for any of Airbnb’s top 35 countries will be subject to guest verification. Currently, this covers 90% of all reservations, which is a huge bonus to hosts as they can rely on having a clearer idea of who will be staying at their property, thanks to a stronger vetting process. By spring 2023, 100% of all global bookings will be verified.

In addition, Airbnb has introduced reservation screening technology to help hosts prevent groups from using their vacation rental for unauthorized parties. This technology reviews hundreds of factors after receiving a booking request that can, in turn, block any request that may seem like a potential rule-breaker.

It’s unclear what specific factors the technology takes into account and how it can successfully differentiate between potential problem guests and well-behaved large groups. However, this feature will surely be well-received by the majority of hosts.

This reservation screening technology is being launched in the U.S. and Canada now, and in the rest of the world from spring 2023.

Filing an AirCover claim

This feature is designed to make it easier for hosts to notify Airbnb and guests about damaged or lost/stolen items. Following a simple and intuitive process, hosts can inform Airbnb of a broken or missing item, how much it was worth, how old it was, and when it happened. A summary of the claim is then passed to both the platform and the guest. The aim is to provide further protection to hosts while reassuring them of reimbursement in the worst-case scenario.

Ground rules for guests

Aside from Aircover, further updates have also been announced. Now, hosts can share their Airbnb house rules with guests before they arrive. This is a welcome addition for hosts who want to enforce specific policies as guests must read–and agree to–all the ground rules before booking. Furthermore, following a “three strikes” procedure, guests can either be warned, suspended, or removed from the platform if these rules are broken.

A new way to manage reviews

More details in reviews of guests

One of the major concerns hosts have is whether or not they can trust the guest they’re renting to. This feature allows for more details to be included in guest reviews such as if the guest broke any ground rules or if they stayed past checkout time.

Retaliatory review protections

Airbnb will now make it easier for hosts to request the removal of unfair, retaliatory reviews no matter how long ago they were left.

It can feel very unfair for hosts who have undeserved, retaliatory reviews tarnishing the property, the host’s reputation, and the accommodation’s overall rating. It’s important to note that this does not refer to any negative review; just the ones that have been left out of spite.

Faster host payments… for a small fee

The new Fast Pay feature allows hosts to request a faster payout, meaning they can receive their payment in their bank account within 30 minutes for a 1.5% fee (with a maximum fee of $15 USD, including tax if applicable).

This will greatly relieve small business owners who may rely on more easily accessible funds. Not having to wait 24 hours for payment will allow hosts to feel more at ease with their financial situation.

Vacation rental in winter

Changes to Airbnb categories

From now on, hosts will be able to see which category their property falls into, including, for example, whether or not it’s “trending”.

Some hosts may be unsure of their accommodation’s type or category for several reasons. This could be because of the uniqueness of the structure, its location, or its occupancy. Finding this information will allow hosts to market their vacation rental to better suit the needs and wants of potential guests.

Additionally, six new categories have been introduced to highlight trending properties and those that should be converting more successfully. These are:

  • New: newly added properties within the last 10 weeks.
  • Top of the world: accommodations around 10,000 feet in elevation.
  • Trending: popular properties that have received a large number of recent views.
  • Adapted: these are verified, wheelchair-friendly rentals, with better accessibility.
  • Play: accommodations with pools, basketball courts, or games rooms, etc.,
  • Hanoks: a type of traditional Korean home built with organic materials.

These new categories will, again, help hosts identify their market and their customer base. Particularly, the new “trending” category will be of interest to hosts as a potential new KPI.

What else is new?

From December this year, Airbnb plans to make the booking process more transparent for guests by including the cleaning fee in the displayed price. This will allow customers to see the total cost upfront without having to wait until the end of the booking process before they’re revealed.

Airbnb’s search ranking algorithm will now prioritize the total cost as opposed to the nightly rate, resulting in the most popular homes with the best value for money being featured before smaller, cheaper rentals.

Why not leave a comment below and let us know your opinion on the new updates?

Disclaimer: Lodgify is an Airbnb Preferred Software Partner. This post, including any claims or statements within, is solely from Lodgify and is not endorsed by, directly affiliated with, authorized, or sponsored by Airbnb in any way.

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