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Airbnb Rolls Out Sweeping User Changes and Upgrades

By Eric Volkman - May 24, 2021 at 3:32PM

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The company is streamlining some features and adding others, in front of a likely boom in tourism.

In anticipation of an expected -- and pronounced -- rebound in travel as the coronavirus wanes in some parts of the world, Airbnb (ABNB -0.49%) has made a series of changes to its services. The company announced Monday that it is enacting over 100 modifications, mostly small-scale, to the way it interacts with hosts and guests.

The changes highlighted by Airbnb in its announcement include a significant boost in flexible search; users looking to book accommodation can now opt to search with flexible dates, parameters, and destinations. 

A couple on the porch of a home.

Image source: Getty Images.

Behind the scenes, the company said it is doubling its count of support agents in order to lift its level of customer service. It will also greatly expand language coverage, with support available in 42 languages (previous tally: 11). Such services will be accessed through a redesigned help center, through which both guests and hosts can find support.

Most of Airbnb's improvements come through upgrades. Among the many are what the company is promising to be a quicker and more straightforward checkout process for guests, an "arrival guide" readily available for guests with all the practical information they'll need for their stay, and an onboarding web hub for hosts.

Although the expected travel industry rebound is certainly an inspiration for these changes, Airbnb said its prime motivation is a longer-term shift in travel trends. 

"The lines between travel, living and working are blurring and we are upgrading our service to make it easier for people to integrate travel into their lives, and for more people to become Hosts," CEO Brian Chesky said in a statement.

On Monday, Airbnb essentially traded in concert with the S&P 500 index, rising marginally to close 0.9% higher.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Airbnb, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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