Airbnb, the short-term rental company that disrupted the travel industry over a decade ago, is returning to its roots with a new offering called Airbnb Rooms. This new service allows guests to rent single rooms in a host’s house or apartment, acknowledging the fact that not everyone can afford to rent an entire home while traveling.
Airbnb Rooms is a throwback to the company’s original concept in 2007 when founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia rented out rooms in their San Francisco apartment to help pay the rent. The new offering provides guests with more information about their hosts and the details of their rental, such as whether the bedroom door locks and if the bathroom is shared or private.
The move towards Airbnb Rooms is aimed at appealing to younger travelers, particularly those from Generation Z, who prefer to pay less than $100 per night on average. The company believes that the new offering will be especially popular with this demographic, who are looking for more affordable options while traveling.
Airbnb Rooms is a departure from the company’s recent emphasis on whole-home rentals, which saw the average daily rate for an Airbnb rental soar to $153 last year. During the pandemic, the company’s business grew as travelers sought out rentals where they could avoid contact with strangers. Rival Vrbo, owned by Expedia, still only rents out whole homes, while Airbnb now offers both.
The move comes as Uber also announced a new offering aimed at cost-conscious consumers. The ride-hailing giant is expanding discounts for shared rides to make its service more affordable and reduce the number of cars on the road. Airbnb, on the other hand, made $1.9 billion in profits last year, its first-ever full-year profit.
Despite its success, Airbnb has faced criticism in the past over high cleaning fees and long checkout instructions. The company has responded to these concerns by changing the way it displays prices and providing guests with checkout lists before they book. Airbnb is also nudging hosts to avoid adding tasks that could lead to poor reviews and get them kicked off the platform.
As the travel industry continues to evolve, it remains to be seen whether Airbnb’s new focus on single-room rentals will pay off. But for budget-conscious travelers and hosts looking to earn some extra income, Airbnb Rooms could be just what they’re looking for.