Facing slowing growth and pressure from regulators, Airbnb is introducing new services targeted toward travelers who choose luxury accommodations and hotels. On Thursday (Feb. 22), the company introduced upmarket travel services as well as a new category of properties, according to news from Reuters.
“Airbnb (is) figuring out how do we grow at the same levels that investors are expecting us to grow, given some of the regulatory headwinds,” Christopher Anderson, a Cornell University professor, told Reuters. “That comes down to more breadth of inventory.”
To increase its inventory, the company plans to make it easier for bed and breakfasts and hotels to list their rooms on the site. It also plans to introduce a category of homes that are inspected for cleanliness and quality. In all, the company is looking to win the business of travelers, who are worried about the risks of occupying a stranger’s home.
The news comes as the company has reached regulatory roadblocks in many countries. Regulators in cities such as Berlin and New York have increased their scrutiny of Airbnb apartments. As a result this pressure, Airnb has had to reduce its listings in some cities.
Airbnb’s popularity, particularly in travel destinations like London, has led to concerns that the service is creating incentives to eat up local rental stock for long-term residents in favor of the more profitable short-term rental market.
More recently, Airbnb launched Experiences — an initiative that enables small businesses, entrepreneurs and community nonprofits to create immersive experiences for travelers.
In a blog post, Airbnb had said it will invest $5 million in the U.S. in an effort to develop, support and promote entrepreneurs through Airbnb Experiences. It is aiming to expand to 200 cities across the country this year.
Since launching Airbnb Experiences, the company said it has seen a lot of growth, with global weekly guest bookings up over 2,000 percent and the number of active experiences growing by 500 percent.