Cape Town - Airbnb, the alternative to what has come to be known as mass-produced tourism, says it is rolling out an updated app, with a range of new features to encourage people to "change the way they experience the world around them".
In a “Live There” concept, the community-driven hospitality company says the new features enable travellers to live like a local in over 690 neighbourhoods around the world.
With over two million homes, Airbnb is already one of the world’s largest accommodation providers and continues to grow in popularity locally as the budget-friendly staycation concept is estimated to be with an estimated R200bn in SA alone.
However with more than 80 million people worldwide, living like a local in neighbourhoods around the world in a way that is true to your preferences and lifestyle has been enhanced by the newly updated Airbnb mobile app - with personalisation at its heart.
According to a US-based Airbnb poll, participants feel that "modern tourism misses the mark when it comes to globe-trotting".
Does your vacation exceed expectations?
Respondents said they felt overwhelmed with the crowds at tourist attractions with people finding it as stressful as going to the dentist (48 percent) or doing their taxes (52 percent). Something is clearly missing from modern tourism as only a quarter (26 percent) of travellers felt their last vacation exceeded their expectations.
“The number one reason people chose to travel on Airbnb is they want to live like a local. They don’t want to be tourists stuck in long lines, fighting with the crowds to see the same thing as everyone else,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and CEO.
“Our hosts offer more than just generic hospitality - they welcome travellers from around the world into their communities. Today is the start of an exciting journey to help people not just go somewhere, but truly live there.”
'Truly feel like you're living in a destination'
The new product includes an innovative matching system designed to understand travellers’ preferences and then match them with the homes, neighbourhoods and experiences that meet their needs.
With the understanding that travel is more than just seeing and doing, the app is said to be constantly learning about its user and will reveal the hosts, homes, and neighbourhoods that will give a sense of truly living in the chosen destination.
"From cabins to castles, the type of experience they want and will even prompt people with additional filters such as pools, price range, and other suggestions to create the perfect trip."
Enhanced by local insights and insider tips
Added to this, a new Guidebooks feature will unlock local insights, giving travellers access to millions of insider tips from Airbnb’s global community of hosts.
Launching with 691 neighbourhoods in 23 cities around the globe, Airbnb says the app will showcase the spirit of a neighbourhood through rich photography and content.
"When booking a trip to London for example, travellers who want to stay with their family somewhere residential might be matched with a neighbourhood like Kensington or, if a traveller is looking for interesting nightlife, the system might match them to Soho or Camden."
Added to this Airbnb is launching Guidebooks, created by Airbnb hosts; to showcase local tips on the very best their neighbourhoods have to offer, including the best restaurants and bars, attractions, off the beaten track ideas and more.
"Instead of checking off a To Do list, Guidebooks help travellers find local gems not only in every city, but on every city block. Guidebooks give travellers a passport to local culture, such as how travellers can enjoy the market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, Cape Town."
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