By Abhijith Ganapavaram
(Reuters) – Airbnb Inc would allow travelers to split their holiday between two properties to facilitate longer stays, the vacation rental firm said on Wednesday, as it doubles down on a pandemic trend that has powered its recent results.
The San Francisco-based company has been a big beneficiary of the shift to remote and hybrid working that has prompted employees to work from far-away destinations and suburbs for a longer duration.
By offering “split stays”, Airbnb said travelers can work around availability of homes, some of which may not be available for long-term stays which can last up to six months.
“It’s hard to find a single home that’s available for an entire month,” Airbnb co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Nathan Blecharczyk told Reuters, adding that the duration of long stays will “absolutely” continue to increase.
Blecharczyk said travel demand will continue to increase next year, as international travel picks up and firms offer employees more opportunities to work remotely.
Stays that last more than 28 days hit an all-time high in the first quarter, more than doubling from pre-pandemic levels and represent about one in every five nights booked, Airbnb said.
The option of split stays is part of a revamp of Airbnb’s app and website, that will also now display properties under 56 different categories such as Bed & breakfasts, Cabins and Castles, without the need for a traveler to enter a destination.
The new features will be rolled out in the United States from Wednesday and worldwide this week, Airbnb said.
The company did not disclose the size of investment in the revamp.
Airbnb also said it had expanded its ‘AirCover’ program, which offers features such as a 24-hour safety line, to include guests. It previously covered only hosts.