If you’ve ever booked an Airbnb that looks promising online only to arrive and be confronted with a less-than-ideal situation, that may be changing. Airbnb is about to launch a new quality-control program of carefully inspected homes to better compete with high-quality hotels.
This news comes courtesy of Bloomberg, who spoke with three anonymous sources familiar with the upcoming launch to get the inside scoop on the new service. According to the sources, the company—valued at $31 billion—will be testing the service out as early as this week with the full thing expected to launch by the end of 2017.
With the new program, tentatively titled Select, users will be able to choose from a premium selection of rentals each equipped with higher-end amenities such as plush towels and new bedding. To be eligible for the “premium” category, hosts must undergo an Airbnb inspection to evaluate whether the homes meet specific requirements. These requirements include luxe amenities, working appliances, and a kitchen stocked with a selection of teas and coffees as well as bottled water.
According to Bloomberg, Select is a smart move for Airbnb because it opens up a whole new base of clientele who might have previously felt more comfortable booking with legitimate hotels. The idea is that access to this particular group of customers would be more lucrative for the company, as they are largely wealthier travelers.
The new service has its benefits for hosts, too: Those partaking in the program will receive priority placement in a new section specifically created for premium homes. They will also have access to a professional photographer to take pictures of their home and receive a free consultation with an interior decorator so that they have a better chance of attracting guests.
Specific information is still unknown as Airbnb representatives remain tight-lipped—though one spokeswoman for the home-sharing company didn’t deny the news, telling Business Insider that they are “continually experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences on Airbnb”—but we’re already excited for this new program. Guaranteed coffee and hotel-like amenities? Yes, please!
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