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Airbnb Expands Offerings To Boost Growth

National Hotel
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky discusses Airbnb's new offerings during an event on Feb. 22, 2018.

Airbnb has upped its game as it prepares for its initial public offering, which is expected as soon as next year. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said Thursday the company will add more hotel listings to its site, new listing options, more tier types and a guest loyalty program, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The San Francisco-based short-term-rental site, which is valued at $31B, has been dealing with low inventory in popular areas, and its Experiences division has been struggling to take off, according to the WSJ. This latest move is part of Airbnb’s plan to appeal to more types of travelers, such as business travelers, families and others, to better compete with Expedia and other travel booking sites.

The company also has been in regulatory battles in cities like New York and Nashville that are limiting the number of days a host can rent on-site. Minneapolis is considering fines of $500 on property owners who list homes on Airbnb and similar sites without receiving a municipal license. Detroit is reviewing the legality of a new zoning ordinance that effectively bans some Airbnb units in single-family homes and duplexes. Airbnb also was sued by AIMCO, which accused Airbnb of ignoring requests to take down listings of rental units at AIMCO properties in Los Angeles.

The site will add four new property types — vacation home, unique space, B&B and boutique — to its existing three property types of shared space, private room and entire home. New property types will launch in the summer.

The company also launched Collections to appeal to guests looking for specific uses such as Airbnb for Family and Airbnb for Work. Social-related collections such as weddings, honeymoons, group getaways and dinner parties will launch later in the year.

Airbnb has added a Plus designation option to homes and listings after evaluations of over 100 features, such as design, cleanliness, accessibility and comfort. It has inspected and certified 2,000 homes out of 4.5 million listings worldwide, and 7,500 homes are expected to receive Plus status by the end of the year. Its new loyalty program, Superguests, will provide free nights and discounts to Airbnb’s best customers, similar to a hotel rewards program.

Airbnb’s goal is to reach 1 billion yearly bookings by 2028. Its bookings totaled 300 million in the last 10 years.