Airbnb adds loyalty program, site inspections as new rules restrict core business


Accommodations in this category "have been personally verified for quality and comfort", Airbnb says, and are intended for guests seeking "beautiful homes, exceptional hosts and added peace of mind".

"Airbnb Plus is intended for guests looking for handsome homes, exceptional hosts and added peace of mind", the company wrote.

"Airbnb Plus" is a new listing category for properties that have been individually vetted by the company.

As Airbnb has tried to begin turning itself into a kind of experience machine with the launch of Experiences, it's trying to cater itself as an alternative and more robust option in the hospitality industry.

During the past decade, the Airbnb platform has grown to have 4.5 million properties listed. The service provider also introduced Collections (homes suited for special occasions like weddings or dinner parties), four new property types - vacation home, unique space, B&B and boutique - and Beyond Airbnb, a new tier launching this spring that offers "custom designed trips of a lifetime". Over the years the types of properties on the platform have become increasingly diverse from treehouses to boutique hotels but it's still only possible to navigate by 3 property types - Shared Space, Private Room and Entire Home.

Over the next year, the program expanded from 500 experiences in 12 cities to more than 5,000 experiences in 58 markets around the world - including a Salsa dancing lesson in Havana, a visit to a wolf sanctuary outside of Seattle, and the opportunity to learn hatmaking in New York City.

United States officials say they were due to meet during the Games, but North Korea pulled out at the last moment. U.S. officials said the North Koreans later cancelled a meeting that had been scheduled for the following day.

By expanding its listings and breaking out categories, Airbnb is taking a page from major hotel companies and online travel agencies that offer different brands and price points.

The new tier is likely to appeal to people who may have been unwilling to use Airbnb in the past because of the company's lack of quality control, as the cleanliness and appearance of the property has always been largely down to the host.

Airbnb said its Plus offerings would be inspected for comfort, cleanliness, and design, and was said to be "intended for guests looking for handsome homes, exceptional hosts and added peace of mind".

New Airbnb Collections will offer unique home collections created to match the most popular types of trips travelers are searching for-like, family trips, group getaways and honeymoons. To that end, Airbnb is launching its Collections feature today. Today it announces an expansion of the program to offer 14 new and updated benefits including better exposure, custom urls and exclusive benefits on smart home products. The Superguest trial launches with 10,000 people this summer before being rolled out to all guests later in the year.

Airbnb Plus is just one of several new features announced today.

Anticipation has been growing over when Airbnb will go public, but CEO Brian Chesky told USA TODAYthat it would not launch an initial public offering in 2018.