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Airbnb Prepares to Go Premium

The yet to be named service will offer high-end home rentals, a move which the site hopes will attract business from older and wealthier travelers.

Airbnb is reportedly preparing to launch a premium service, one that it hopes will enable it to enter into direct competition with the hotel industry, unnamed sources have told the Chicago Tribune.

This new service, which is launching as a pilot program, will see inspectors from Airbnb head into the homes of a select number of would-be hosts to verify that these rentals meet the company’s standards for high-end properties. Everything from linens, towels, kitchen appliances, tea and coffee facilities as well as bottled water will come under the scrutiny of these inspectors, and once these properties pass muster, they will be featured on the Airbnb website and app.

Vetted hosts will also receive perks such as access to a professional photographer as well as interior design and décor tips.

While this premium-tier service is apparently referred to internally by the company as “Select,” the sources told the outlet that an official name for the product has not yet been designated.

The hope is that this new product will help the website to widen its customer base; while Airbnb has long been popular with budget-savvy millennials, the site has struggled to attract business from older travelers seeking luxury hotel accommodation. Likewise, it is thought that this premium service could unsettle larger hotel operators, who have seen some of their lower-end clients eschew traditional accommodation for Airbnb and similar websites.

The paper also quoted insight from Bloomberg Intelligence analysts, who said of this premium initiative, “With Airbnb expanding its services to improve travelers’ experience by including hotel-like features, it may be able to attract a wider customer base.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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